Shocking serial killings for sex, cash in Bantwal

Ex-teacher lured 18 girls with marriage offers; cyanides them to death

Shocking serial killings for sex, cash in Bantwal

 
The prey and the predator: 1.Baby Nayak Badakodi, Vittla;  2.Vanitha Nelyadi, Uppinangady; 3. Shashikala Karingala, Bantwal;  4. Hemavathi Mithur, Vittla; 5. Leelavathi Kodamettu, Venur; 6. Sharada Kedila, Puttur; 7. Not identified; 8. Not identified; 9. Anitha Barimar, Bantwal;  10. Kavery Peraje, Madikeri.  (Right) Mohan Kumar with head covered. DH PhotoMohan Kumar, who hails from Kanyana in Bantwal taluk, would allegedly ensnare the women with expressions of love, promise of marriage, have sex with them and in some cases take away their jewellery before killing them in cold blood without any remorse.
A one-time primary school teacher, Kumar would ask each of the women to consume a pill, which was actually cyanide, so that pregnancies could be prevented.

The Bantwal serial killings, as the police termed Kumar’s ghastly acts, are a throwback to the 2006 Nithari expose in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida where Mohinder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surinder Kohli would lure their victims by job promises.

The only difference is that unlike the Nithari killings, in which the bodies of the victims were buried in Pandher’s house, the Bantwal murders took place in cheap, run-down hotels and bus stations.

According to the police, investigations so far have revealed that Kumar was the solitary perpetrator of the crimes. The police seized eight cyanide tablets, four mobile phones and jewellery pieces belonging to one of his victims, identified as Anitha. People of Mangalore were shocked to hear of the disclosures Kumar made to the police of the manner in which he committed the crimes.

What makes the crimes shocking is Kumar’s antecedent: He was a temporary primary school but gave up teaching after being in the profession for 23 years.

Investigations into the serial killings began when 22-year-old Anitha’s parents, of Barimaru village in Bantwal taluk, filed a missing report with the police on June 17 this year. A special team was formed because of a public outcry when Anitha could not be traced for over a month.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, IGP (Western Range) Gopal Hosur said the police team was able to trace Anitha’s cellphone calls one of which was made to the mobile phone of another missing girl.

“That was a vital clue which helped us zero in on Mohan,” Hosur said, adding that the clue turned into a pattern when more and more calls could be traced from one phone to another, indicating that Kumar  used his victims’ handsets and SIM cards. He was arrested from Deralekatte, near Mangalore, where he lived with his third wife.

Kumar’s modus operandi was simple, according to Hosur. Some time before quitting teaching, Kumar developed an abdomen lump, surgery on which required Rs 50,000.

He resigned his job and sold some of his land in Bantwal to put together the amount. After undergoing surgery, he found himself in penury.  “It was then that he thought up this grisly plan to,” said Hosur. Initially, he used sleeping pills to drug his victims.
However, this plan backfired when one of the girls threatened to expose him. “So he had to return the jewellery to the girl’s family following a compromise,” Hosur said. So, just to be on the safe side subsequently, Mohan thought of using cyanide so that the dead did not tell any tales.

Mohan Kumar would entice young, unmarried girls with good communication skills. He would study their psychology, win over their trust and ask them of their families before proposing marriage.

In most cases the girls agreed. He would then take them to cheap hotels near bus stations in Mysore, Bangalore, Haasan and Markara. After having sex with the girls through the day and night, he would offer to take them to the local temple so they could get married. “But before leaving the hotel, he would tell the girls to take birth control pills (actually cyanide tablets) in the bus station lavatories and advise them to leave behind their jewellery in the hotel room,” Hosur disclosed.

The unsuspecting girls would consume the pills and “drop dead”. Mohan would return to the hotel, collect the jewelleries and make a smooth getaway -- to target a new victim. When the bodies were recovered, they would written off as suicide cases. Hosur revealed that Mohan had procured a large quantity of cyanide from a local goldsmith.
Following the raid at his Deralekatte residence, the police recovered some gold jewellery.

Probes into the case are far from over. In fact, Mohan’s interrogation has revealed that he had planned to take two girls from Bantwal to hotels in adjoining districts. Hosur said that since five of the 18 girls were from Kasargod in Kerala, a special team would probe these cases. Police said investigations will be undertaken in such a manner that there are no loopholes when it goes for trial after a chargesheet is filed. “We will do a throrough job so that the culprit gets nothing less than death sentence,” Hosur said.

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