'Harshitha thought police are lax, won't catch her'

'Harshitha thought police are lax, won't catch her'

Did the supposedly lenient manner in which the police investigate most crimes embolden 19-year-old Harshitha to murder her grandmother Ramaratnamma and believe she could go scot-free?

At least, this is what Harshitha is learnt to have told the investigators.

Police said she had mastered the art of glib-talking to convince the policemen and mislead the investigation officer after her frequent visits to the Chamarajpet police station in connection with a different case.

“She gained the courage to murder Ramaratnamma, thanks to her knowledge of how the police function. She believed she could murder Ramaratnamma and get away with it,” said a police source.

Harshitha began frequenting the police station after an ATM card of one of her friends was misused.

In the process, she developed contacts with some policemen and saw to it that the culprit was prosecuted.

When she was interrogated about her grandmother’s murder, Harshitha is learnt to have admitted that her association with the policemen gave her  the courage to commit the murder.

Harshitha would not lose any opportunity to impress her friends.

She wanted to be seen as rich and large-hearted.

She thought she could impress her friends by giving them gifts.

Hence, she decided to get money to realise her dreams, the police source added.

Ramaratnamma’s husband ran a shop in Mysore, which she sold after his death two years ago and invested a part of it as fixed deposit in a bank.

She lent the balance to her relatives and acquaintances.

Harshitha frequently went to Mysore as Ramaratnamma was very fond of her.

Harshitha knew how her grandmother lent money on interest, the police source said.

Harshitha reportedly told the police that she decided to borrow money from her grandmother for buying goods.

But her hopes were shattered when Ramaratnamma refused to heed her request, said the police.

On May 9, Harshitha ate dinner with her father Shekhar, mother Lakshmi, sister Varshitha and Ramaratnamma.

While having food, Ramaratnamma said she would lend money to some people on May 11 and then leave for Mysore.

Harshitha knew Ramaratnamma had brought a lot of money while coming to Bangalore. She then hatched a plot to rob her the next day, Harshitha is said to have told the police.

Upon returning home from work on May 10, Harshitha sought money from Ramaratnamma, saying she earned little and wanted to buy something

But Ramaratnamma scolded her and advised her against unnecessary expenditure.

It was then that Harshitha decided to kill her because she knew her grandmother would not budge.

She looked for a kitchen knife but ended up getting a rolling pin which she used to attack her grandmother, the police said.

After the murder, Harshitha conducted herself in such a way that nobody, including the police, suspected her.

“We failed to get any leads and thought of checking the call detail record of Shekhar and his family members. We noticed more calls on Harshitha’s logs that day. We also noticed a particular number and grew suspicious,” said the investigating officer.

Police zeroed in on the caller and found that she was using a handset Harshitha had recently gifted her.

The revelation proved crucial as the police then gathered more details about Harshitha’s lavish lifestyle following the murder.

Finally, they detained her, added the police.

Parents, sister recovering

Meanwhile, Shekhar, Lakshmi and Varshitha, who reportedly consumed poison in a lodge in Shimoga on Thursday afternoon out of embarrassment, are recovering.

“They are still in the ICU and would be shifted to a ward in a few days. They have said they decided to end their lives out of shame over what Harshitha did,” said Raghavendra, inspector of Shimoga Town police station.

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