Three intriguing whodunnits of 2013

Three intriguing whodunnits  of 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, three of the most sensational murders of the year remain unsolved.

Homemaker Manasa, 27, was found strangled in the bedroom of her house in K G Nagar on March 19. Four days later, on March 23, a gang of assailants hacked jeweller Shravan Kumar Pokarna, 46, to death and looted his shop in Rajajinagar. But the most sensational case is the murder of the rector of the St Peter’ Ponitifical Seminary, Father K J Thomas, on the premises of the seminary on April 1.

According to police, the probe into the murder of Rector Thomas has been the most exhaustive, and the investigating officer describes it as the most challenging of his career. While initially, they were convinced that the murder was committed by external assailants, police now believe that Thomas was murdered by someone whom he may have known. According to the officer, the case “has almost turned out to be a locked room mystery.”

Brain-mapping and narco-analysis tests on several suspects led to the emergence of Father Patrick Xavier, the then procurator of the seminary, as one of the prime suspects. However, there was not enough evidence to charge-sheet him, the officer said. The City police have also identified a set of suspects who were at the seminary that night. The suspects  — several of them priests — may be subjected to brain-mapping soon.

The investigation was not helped by the Bangalore Archdiocese, which was initially critical of the probe and even demanded a CBI inquiry. The Archbishop was not available for comment. In Pokarna’s case, police are confident that they will solve it soon.

A senior official investigating the case said the murder was clearly for gain, carried out by a gang of assailants not entirely outsiders. He said that the lack of CCTV footage was a major hurdle.

He said that investigations had revealed that the financial transactions of the jeweller were not clean, and this may have provided a motive for a number of people to kill him.
The murder of Manasa claimed the life of another person.

Manjunath Setty, who ran a provision store across the road where Manasa’s house stands, alleged that he was being badgered by police to divulge details of the crime, which he claimed to be ignorant about. To escape the alleged harassment, he took his own life days later, by consuming poison.

The officer investigating the case said that the initial investigation had been botched up. Clues and evidence were not properly collected, he said.

Investigators are re-examining the case and scrutinising the cellphone records of those who knew the deceased and her husband.

The officer said that the husband had suppressed some information, but added that the police did not have conclusive evidence to nail the culprit in the case. When quizzed as to why these cases remain unsolved, City Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar said some investigations were complex.

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