Kin-Killings

 Tania Ameer |  2015-12-13 19:52:46.0  |  New Delhi

Kin-Killings

Unresolved and spine-chilling mystery murders in India, wherein the role of the kith and kin is undeniably questionable, resurfaced after the infamous Sheena Bora case hit the headlines in early September this year. Not only did this case grab eyeballs, it also made everyone revisit similar ghastly murder cases in the past, in which a family member has murdered the other. Apart from Sheena Bora, where her mother Indrani Mukherjea has been accused of murder, another sensational murder case which still haunts our psyche is that of Aarushi Talwar in which parents being the primary accused, are currently in jail. These cases are indicative of a deteriorating societal trend symbolic of breakdown of filial ties.

Mindscape: Psychologist’s Viewpoint
Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Mental Health, Fortis Healthcare, explained that stagnation and disintegration of society as main reasons for this trend of murders by the family members. He said: “Typically when you have family related violent crimes happening, it can be attributed to money or sudden emotional upsurge .What one needs to understand is, this is what affects families the most. What do you share with family – you share your financial and emotional resources with them. These are your attachments and you invest a lot in them. This is where you expect a lot. Sometimes when you feel you have experienced an emotional upsurge or letdown by a family member then it results into this rage-inducing behaviour, or also when you feel there is a certain financial resource and you feel you want to take charge of all it for your own self not sharing it with your family members. Increased crimes that have started happening within the families, is also a reflection of where the society is headed towards because the moment you start being unsafe within your family domain, so when you start questioning and then we can analyse it with a societal context. Society needs to reflect on itself that how are we stagnating at a level where we are not able to take care of our own and such violent crimes are taking within family setups. It is not about individual cases but we need to look at say within 10 years has there been an increase in family crimes at various levels? Does the society need to look at itself? This is the decay of the society… where we end up debating so many issues intellectually but then we don’t focus on where we are going on a societal, family or humanitarian level.”

Case 1: Sheena Bora Murder
Suspected Motive: Money, Greed
Recap of Events
Twisted since its very inception, the case has changed dramatically every single day with new facts coming to light rapidly. Starting with flip-flops in the relationship between former INX media co-founder Indrani Mukerjea and Sheena, the case just got complex, from being sisters to the latter being identified as Indrani’s daughter. Then the details of the gruesome murder mystery kept trickling in, Indrani is accused of murdering her daughter Sheena inside a car with the help of her former second husband Sanjeev Khanna and the driver Shyamvar Rai. The murder allegedly took place three years ago. The three are accused of murdering Sheena by strangulating her, then cutting her into pieces, stocking it in a suitcase and later burning it to destroy evidence. Indrani is also facing a separate case for attempting to murder Mikhail Bora – Sheena’s brother - by giving him spiked drinks. Indrani is presently married to Peter Mukerjea, the former CEO of STAR India. All four accused – Peter along Indrani Mukerjea, Sanjeev Khana and driver Shyamvar Rai have been arrested and sent to judicial custody. As per motives it was claimed that a huge money trail might be the main and sole reason which forced them to kill Sheena.

Case 2: Arushi Talwar Murder
Suspected Motive: Honour Killing
Recap of Events
The 2008 sensational twin murder of Aarushi Talwar and a house help, Hemraj haunts India as one of its most terrifying murder mysteries. The 14-year-old girl was found murdered in her Noida house on May 16, 2008 and after that Hemraj went missing. He was presumed to be the prime suspect in the case only till his decomposed body was discovered the next day on the terrace. The main motive attributed in the case was alleged to be honour killing, with parents- Rajesh and Nupur Talwar – being the primary suspects. Various reports were abuzz with theories of honour killing and that the Talwars were indulging in extra-marital affairs and also wife swapping. According to the CBI SP AGL Kaul, who led the second probe team in the case, Rajesh after discovering his daughter in a compromising position with Hemraj, had killed her. The first CBI investigation has claimed that Talwars’ assistant Krishna along with two domestic servants – Rajkumar and Vijay – killed Aarushi after they tried to molest her and Hemraj for being a witness. But the court didn’t find enough evidence against these three and acquitted them. In 2009, a new team led by Kaul was constituted to investigate the case which recommended closing the case due to critical gaps in the evidence. But the court found enough circumstantial evidence to indict. They were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Aarushi’s parents, both currently in jail, however, plead innocence till date.  They have challenged the decision in the Allahabad High Court citing lack of evidence against them.

Case 3: Pramod Mahajan murder
Suspected Motive: Money
Recap of Events
In one of the most dramatic murders in the country BJP Pramod Mahajan was killed by his younger brother Pravin on April 22, 2006 in the former’s Mumbai home. The former union minister, Pramod died after succumbing to his wounds 12 days later on May 3. Pravin was sentenced to life by a sessions court for fratricide on December 18, 2007. The prosecution sought the death penalty for Pravin for killing his brother, calling it a “cold-blooded murder” that was “meticulously planned.” But the lower court judge said the murder did “not fall under rarest of rare” category of cases under which the death penalty is imposed in India. The prosecution during the court proceedings had stated that money was the main motive behind the murder. Pravin who was serving a life sentence term for the murder, was released on 14-day parole on November 27, 2009 after three-and-a-half years in prison and was supposed to return to prison when he suffered the stroke and was hospitalised. In March 2010 he died in a private hospital in Mumbai.

Case 4: Ponty Chaddha
Suspected Motive: Money, disputed property 
Recap of Events
Liquor baron and owner of Wave multiplexes, Gurdeep Singh Chadha, also known as Ponty Chadha, died in crossfire being shot by his own brother Hardeep. Ponty and his brother were killed at a farmhouse in Chhattarpur in south Delhi in a shootout on 17 November 2012 allegedly over a property dispute.The two brothers were embroiled in an acrimonious property dispute over the Wave Empire estimated at thousand of crores, after the death of their father, Kulwant Singh Chadha. Hardeep was later gunned down by a personal security officer accompanying Ponty.

Case 5: Delhi girl murdered by parents for marrying against their wishes
Suspected Motive: Honour Killing
Recap of Events
In a shocking case of honour killing in the Capital, Bhavna a 21-year-old final year student of Sri Venkateswara, Delhi University, was allegedly murdered by her parents in November 2014, because she married against their wishes. As per reports she was strangulated by her parents and uncle at their Dwarka home. After killing her they took her body to their hometown, Alwar, and quietly cremated her, said the police. Both the parents – Jagmohan, a property dealer and local Congress party member, and Savitri – were arrested. Bhavna who is from the Yadav community, hailed from Rajasthan and she had married Abhishek who is a Punjabi.

Case 6: Mother kills daughter for ‘drinking, smoking and partying’
Suspected Motive: Honour Killing
Recap of Events
Pushpa Kohli hired her brother, a Punjab police officer to kill Kiran – her 23-year-old daughter as punishment for the young woman's “excessive” lifestyle, said Faridabad Police. “Frustrated over her daughter’s lifestyle, smoking and excessive drinking, forcing Pushpa to kill her daughter Kiran. She gave contract of Rs 1 lakh to Kulwindar to kill her daughter,” said ACP (Crime) Poonam Dalal according to a report. This was not the first time Pushpa had reportedly tried to kill Kiran. Pushpa had allegedly served a sedative laced food to Kiran earlier as well. Police said that, her plan to smother Pushpa failed when Kiran woke up at the last moment. After this she hired her brother to carry out the murderous plan. Kiran was married to a Delhi-based businessman two years ago, but she returned back as she had marital discord with her husband, said a report.

Case 7: Woman strangled by mother and brother for separating from her husband
Suspected Motive: Honour Killing
Recap of Events
Yet another case of honour killing on the outskirts of Delhi, Deepti Chhikara, a Municipal Corporation of Delhi school teacher in Sultanpuri was strangulated to death allegedly by her brother and mother in Kanjhawala over her affair with a man belonging to a different caste. After she was married off to someone against her wishes, Deepti returned from her in-laws home within a month. 

Allegedly her mother, brother and uncle strangled her to death and dumped her body in a canal in Roorkee.

Tania Ameer

Tania Ameer

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