Bharathi Urs acquitted of murder

She was accused of murdering Chitralekha over financial dispute 6 years ago

Bharathi Urs acquitted of murder

The sensational murder trial of Chitralekha, daughter of former High Court judge M P Chandrakanth Raje Urs, finally reached its climax when K Amaranarayan, I Fast Track Sessions Judge, pronounced the 105-page judgment.

Observing the two crucial prosecution witnesses, the watchman and the peon of Harikhode Palm Grove, a guest house on Palace Road where Chitralekha was reportedly murdered between 6:50 and 7 pm on January 19, 2004, Judge Amaranarayan said evidence does not indicate even remotely that Bharati Urs committed the murder.

Also acquitting the other two accused, T Madhukar and L N Chandrakant, the judge maintained that the witnesses had said that they never saw the accused.  The Judge also refused to accept the theory that the conduct of the accused was “unnatural”. She had been very close to the deceased and she would often visit her house. It shows that the two were more like friends, he observed.

The Prosecution had contended that Bharathi had, at first feigned ignorance about the Chitralekha's whereabouts and later asked the family of the deceased not to file a complaint after she went missing.

Defence counsel C V Nagesh, however stated that Bharathi said so in view of the social status of the family. The court while taking this into consideration held the three accused not guilty.

Delay

The famous case underwent several delays. The trial alone was put off three times, on October 4, 2005, January 20 and March 1, 2006. It finally began on May 29.  This apart, about three to four judges heard the case before Amaranarayan wrote the judgement. Further, the date for pronouncing the final verdict was also put off once.

In all, 68 witnesses including Chitralekha's elder sister Hema Mandanna, her husband Ashok Mandanna, her mother Sharada Urs, and her second sister Nayan Tara, deposed before the court.

Chitralekha had gone missing on January 19, 2004. When she could not be reached over phone, the family filed a missing person's complaint with the High Grounds police station. After 50 days, police arrested Madhukumar and Chandrakanth and traced the body in Shiradi Ghat in Hassan district.

Chitralekha’s identity was established based on a DNA test and jewellery she wore. The family's doctor confirmed the identity on the basis of the root canal treatment. Subsequently, the three were arrested and remanded to judicial custody. The Prosecution contended that Bharati Urs had hatched a conspiracy to murder Chitralekha as she had borrowed about Rs 70 lakh and failed to repay it. Further, T Madhukar and L N Chandrakant  were charged with committing the offence for money and destruction of evidence.

Expressing disappointment over the ruling, Nayan Tara said: "We are deeply shocked and extremely saddened by the verdict.  It is a sad day for justice. We were absolutely sure of a conviction because of the overwhelming evidence available on record.  We shall fight until the end and we hope that justice shall prevail ultimately." She said the family planned to file an appeal before the High Court. "We will see to it that the Prosecution also files an appeal," she told Deccan Herald.

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