The family’s assertion came after Commissioner of Police Shankar Bidari’s announcement of the arrest. They refused to buy the police theory and threatened to go to court if the matter was not probed thoroughly. They suspect the husband’s hand.
Bidari said that James Kumar Roy (28), who had partnered with Payal’s husband Anant Narayan Mishra to run a gym in Cuttack, had “killed her to avenge the humiliation of losing his job”.
Investigations showed that Payal began hating James after she came to know that he was involved in dishonest dealings, Bidari said. James was collecting money from customers but was not remitting it to the gym. This didn’t go down well with Payal and she asked Anant to terminate his services. Accordingly, James was given a compensation of Rs 75,000 and sacked. In order to avenge this humiliation, he killed her, Bidari told reporters.
The police story goes thus: James is a close friend of Anant. He had undergone training at a gym owned by Anant and another person. Later, he went to Cuttack to join the Mishra family as a partner in their gym named “Cuts and Curves”. All went well till James’ dishonest dealings came to light. Payal warned her husband against continuing the business with James and asked him to terminate his services. Thus, James was thrown out of the gym.
Feeling humiliated, James nursed a vengeance against the couple, especially Payal. He found out that Anant was going to Cuttack on December 16 and that Payal would be home alone.
On the morning of December 17, he took a bus to Bangalore from Hyderabad where he was studying, bought a sharp knife from a shop in the Majestic area, and reached the couple’s J P Nagar flat. Payal didn’t detest his arrival and began preparing tea for him.
James lured her into the bedroom where he suddenly grabbed her neck from behind, forced her on the bed, and slit her throat.
Later, he turned her on the back, tied her to the cot, and inflicted injuries on her chest, neck and stomach. Then, he covered her body with a bedspread. In order to pass off the incident as a murder for gain, James stole the laptop and one of the two mobile phones of Payal.
Later, he went to Puttenahalli Lake where he washed the bloodstains on his jeans and jersey and, along with the knife, dumped them there.
Thereafter, he left for Hyderabad and went into hiding in Vijayawada where he was arrested on Wednesday. According to Bidari, James was brought to the City by road from Vijayawada. While the laptop and James’s clothes were recovered, Payal’s mobile phone, which the suspect had thrown away, was still untraced.
He was remanded by the jurisdictional magistrate in police custody till January 5, 2011.
Payal’s family, however, said the matter had not been probed thoroughly. “We’re not going to accept the police story that James killed Payal for such a trivial reason. We’re not at all happy. Police have overlooked crucial evidence against Anant," Payal’s uncle Pavan Sureka told Deccan Herald.
Suspecting the role of the husband Anant or his family, Pavan said Payal’s in-laws had “strongly objected”to the couple moving to Bangalore. “Anant’s mother was against their coming here. Further, none of them, except Anant’s father, came to the funeral. We’ll stay in Bangalore till January 5 when James’s remand expires and approach the court if the police don’t change the course of their investigation,” he added.