Friendship over Facebook, extra-marital relations, blackmail, murder and attempt to make it look like an accident. This crime of passion is definitely a ghastly one.
On May 4 this year, a man was found in an unconscious state on a road under the Meerpet police station limits on the outskirts of Hyderabad. His motorbike was lying nearby. Police treated it as a case of accident as the man was suspected to have sustained a head injury after falling from his two-wheeler.
The victim was shifted to a hospital, where he died two days later. He was identified as M. Yashma Kumar (32), a photographer.
As part of the routine process to complete the formalities, police scanned the CCTV footage from the place where Kumar was found and they were shocked to know that a man hit Kumar on his head with a hammer when he was waiting for someone.
The Meerpet police station under Rachakonda police commissionerate had initially registered a case of accident. It was altered to a case of murder and the police launched a hunt for the two men seen in the CCTV footage.
K. Ashok (28), the former vice principal of a private junior college, and K. Karthik (30), an electrician, both from Andhra Pradesh, were arrested and they confessed to the crime. Based on their statement, police arrested B. Shweta Reddy (32), a resident of Prashanti Hills.
The investigation revealed shocking details. It was in 2018 that Shweta, wife of a techie, and Kumar became friends over Facebook.
“They had started talking over phone and eventually began an extramarital affair. The victim had asked her to make nude calls and recorded the same. He wanted to marry her and when she refused, he started pressurising her and used the nude calls to blackmail her,” said a police officer.
Kumar also drove around the woman’s house on his bike to blackmail her. Panicked over his threats, Shweta contacted another Facebook friend Ashok, a resident of Vijayawada. Ashok with his accomplice Karthik came to Hyderabad and the trio hatched a plot to eliminate Kumar. As per the plan, the woman called Kumar to her house on May 4.
When he reached near her house, Ashok and Karthik, who were waiting in ambush, attacked him. They hit him on his head with a hammer. He fell unconscious and slipped into a coma.
Police solved the murder mystery after analysing Kumar’s call data. Since the last call on the mobile was by Shweta Reddy, they questioned her and she finally confessed to the crime.
She also told the police that after calling Kumar, she had changed her mind and had sent a message to Ashok and Karthik to leave him alone but by then they had executed the plot.
Last year, a woman and her lover were arrested in Hyderabad for allegedly murdering the former’s husband. The deceased’s body was found stuffed in a refrigerator in his apartment at Karmikanagar in Jubilee Hills.
Rubeena and Syed Mohammed Ali killed Siddique Ahmed, a tailor, as he found out about their affair.
Ali, a mechanic by profession, was having an affair with Rubeena for two years. Both were caught red-handed at Ahmed’s flat, due to which the deceased had physically assaulted Ali and warned him of dire consequences.
As Ahmed also began torturing his wife Rubeena, she along with Ali decided to eliminate Ahmed so that they could be together. Rubeena, who went to her mother’s home, came back with Ali and gained entry into the house, after which they killed Ahmed by hitting him on his head with an iron rod.
The murder came to light after the house owner grew suspicious as Ahmed had not come out of the house ever since Rubeena had left. He tried to call him over the phone but the phone was switched off.
The house owner informed the Jubilee Hills police, who reached the house and after breaking the door, found the body partially stuffed into the refrigerator. Rubeena and Ali were waiting for an opportunity to shift the body to some other place.
Last year saw 85 murders in Hyderabad. According to the police, about 60 per cent of the murder cases in Hyderabad are crimes of passion. The main reason for the homicides is found to be extra-marital affair. In most of the cases it was a love triangle and disputes arising out of it.
Murders involving sexual jealousy are found to be brutal and more violent compared to others. Investigators attribute it to long planning and the high level of anger or jealousy.
“Increased tolerance for crime, lack of empathy, lack of remorse /guilt, high drive for rage, pleasure of dominance, lack of a social conscience, impulsivity, poor threshold for human suffering can be a few factors why one commits a heinous crime like this,” observes Dr Charan Teja Koganti , Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, KIMS Hospitals, Kondapur.
“Brain scans of criminals show decreased connectivity between the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that processes negative stimuli and gives rise to fearful reactions, and the prefrontal cortex, which interprets responses from the amygdala,” he explains. “When connectivity between these two regions is low, processing of negative stimuli in the amygdala does not translate into any strongly felt negative emotions hence they resort to a crime of this magnitude.”
There is also environmental influence as the accused in the Delhi murder case mentions watching shows such as ‘Dexter’ and ‘Jeffrey Dahmer’, where one’s mind can get drawn into the dark desires of this sort.
According to Dr Anitha Rayirala, Consultant Psychiatrist, Amor Hospital, perpetrators of heinous crimes like Shraddha’s brutal murder in Delhi seem to be suffering from anti-social personality disorder.
“This disorder usually starts during childhood as defiance behaviour, truancy and recklessness but outwardly they look very smart and sharp. That’s why most of the cases go unrecognised,” Dr Rayirala pointed out. “During adulthood, outwardly they appear sharp, smart and lovable and attract and impress others easily but inwardly they are cunning, manipulative. They lack empathy and cannot understand the others point. They don’t mind indulging in criminal activity and they don’t feel the pain of others. They want to break rules. Lying is very common. They will have multiple partners because they easily impress and manipulate,” she added.