Wednesday, March 4, 2015

'Cyanide' killer of women sentenced to be hanged

By V M Sathish Published Sunday, December 22, 2013 The culprit, formerly a physical education teacher in a school in southern India, used to kill victims with cyanide pills A serial killer in India, nicknamed ‘Cyanide Mohan’, who was convicted for murdering three young women with cyanide poison pills after luring them with marriage offers, has been sentenced to death by a court in India. Mohan was convicted on Saturday by the Fourth Additional District and Sessions Court in Mangalore judge B K Naik in the southern state of Karnataka in the Anita Baremar, Leelavathi and Sunanda rape and murder cases out of the 20 serial rape and murder cases registered against him. Judge Naik said Mohan’s case fell in the ‘rarest of rare’ category. The death sentence will be implemented only after getting confirmation from the High Court. The court concluded from the revelations of 49 witnesses that he had taken the lives of innocent women without any provocation. A primary school physical education teacher, Mohan is an accused in 17 other cyanide murders, mainly in Karnataka. 50-year-old Mohanan, who hailed from Kanyana village near Bantwal in Mangalore district, was arrested in 2009, from Deralakatta village near Mangalore from the house of his third wife Sridevi by police investigating the case of a missing 22-year-old woman named Anitha.

On questioning him, Karnataka State Police was shocked to learn that Mohan was involved in the murder of 20 other women. He had been luring young women into a relationship with him by offering to marry them without dowry or job. Most of the cyanide murders were committed in public toilets of bus depots, according to Indian media reports. The South Indian expatriate community in the Gulf is keenly discussing the court’s judgement in this case on social networking web sites. The killer’s modus operandi was to take the women to distant places, and after sex with them in lodges, would give them cyanide tablets under the pretext of being contraceptive pills. After the women died, he would abscond with their ornaments and money. Mohan used to book rooms in lodges in different aliases but used the same handwriting and address. Karnataka Police had earlier closed many of these cases as suicides resulting from failed love affairs. According to the police, Mohan was greedy for money, gold and women but his neighbours and close relatives were not initially willing to believe that he is a serial killer. Even his two wives were unaware of his series of killings till he was arrested, according to Indian media reports.

All the murders took place between 2003 and 2009, and most of the victims were women in the age group of 22 to 35 who could not afford to pay dowry or were unable to find suitable husbands. Four of his victims were from Kerala and five from Kodagu in neighbouring Karnataka state. Most of the victims had cash and gold ornaments with them, sometimes borrowed from neighbours and family friends. One of the victims even took a bank loan of Indian rupees 25,000 before eloping with Mohan. Mohan has confessed to killing 20 women, mostly from the lower socio-economic background. In 2009 alone, nine women were killed for the jewellery and the money they carried. Police caught hold of the physical education teacher, while investigating the case of Anitha who was missing from her village of Bantwal. Anitha was his 18th victim. He was traced from the mobile phone contact list of one of his victims. According to the information released by Karnataka Police, ten of the 21 murders happened in the Mysore bus stand, three at the Madikeri bus stand, two each at the Hassan bus stand and Banglore bus station, and one near the Kollur temple in Udupi district. Mohan himself appeared for his defence in court, after studying a number of legal books, according to media reports. He argued that the case had not been proved beyond all reasonable doubt. He had also begged for leniency as his family was poor, his two children were in high school and his mother was in good health. He had tried to kill himself when he was in police custody.

Mohan learned about cyanide from a goldsmith who told him he used the poisonous material to polish the precious metal. He obtained the deadly material by posing as a goldsmith. Mohan would approach single women in public places, pretending prior familiarity and would pursue them for a few weeks before proposing marriage without dowry. He would present himself as a government official and elope with the victim to a distant place and book a room in a lodge close to a temple in a different name. He used to select lodges near a temple on the pretext that they would be married in the temple the next day. Either or a day before the wedding, he would give the victims two cyanide pills, convincing the victims that they are contraceptive pills and would advise them to go inside the bus depot’s toilet to take the pills because after taking the pills they would vomit. Mohan had divorced his first wife but had two other wives living in separate houses. He started the killing spree after he was sacked in 2003 from government service. Karnataka Police recovered cyanide pills, forged identity and visiting cards in various names, fake government seals and rubber stamps, gold ornaments and mobile phones from his house. He maintained a list of women he tried to attract and was successful with about 20 per cent of the women he tried to lure, police said.

Source: [last accessed on 04.03.2015]

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