K'taka: Gym trainer gets lifer in Payal Surekha murder case
New Delhi: Nine years after the brutal murder of 27-year-old tech employee Payal Surekha in her Bengaluru home, a special CBI court on Thursday convicted gym trainer James Kumar Ray and sentenced him to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs 1 lakh to be paid out to Surekha's husband as compensation.
The murder case was initially registered by the JP Nagar Police Station in 2010 against unknown persons, after Surekha's body was discovered in her home, stabbed to death; police arrested Ray in a matter of days and even a filed a chargesheet against.
However, the probe was eventually handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation by the Supreme Court of India in 2011. The CBI's investigation in the case revealed that Ray had conspired to kill Surekha as part of a plan to take revenge against her husband Anantha Narayana Mishra, in whose gyms he used to work as a trainer.
The probe had found that Mishra owned and operated a gym in Bengaluru and had opened one in Odisha as well and had appointed Ray as a trainer in Cuttack. But in the absence of a partner in Mishra's Cuttack gym, Ray started posing as the owner and even siphoned-off funds.
When Mishra and his partner in Bengaluru found out about Ray's professional transgression, the gym trainer was let go, allegedly in an embarrassing way in front of the entire gym staff.
According to the CBI, Ray carefully calculated his moves before committing the crime. He kept an eye on Mishra's movements and when he could confirm that Surekha's husband had left Bengaluru on December 16, 2010, he arrived in the city the next day and murdered the IT-employee inside her home.
The CBI filed a chargesheet in the case after what it has called a "thorough and painstaking" investigation, after which the special CBI court held Ray guilty of murdering Surekha.
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