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Monday, February 6, 2023

Basheer murders 74-year-old Padmavati for her gold necklace in Palakkad

On 31 December, elderly Padmavati (74) was found dead in her ancestral home at Kodumbu near Palakkad. Relatives discovered her jewelry missing and a wound on her neck. They immediately suspected that it was a murder. 

Padmavati had lunch at her son’s place nearby and went home to rest. Around 8:30 pm, her son went to his ancestral home to invite her for dinner when he saw her motionless body slumped on the floor. He suspected she was dead when he tried to shift Padmavati from the floor. 

He also realized that his mother’s gold necklace was missing and noticed a wound on her neck. Relatives immediately intimated Town South police station. The body was shifted to the district hospital for post-mortem as suspicions were raised during the police inspection.

Padmavati’s son is constructing a house in the same compound. Along with others, two workers, Basheer and Satyabhama, had been working there for a week. This is how Basheer noticed the gold necklace around Padmavati’s neck.

Basheer had a liability of Rs.75,000. Earlier, Basheer had groomed Satyabhama, and though they were not married to each other, the two lived together. A few days ago, Basheer bought Satyabhama a mobile phone worth 35 thousand rupees. They were yet to pay twenty-five thousand rupees. Basheer decided to steal Padmavati’s gold necklace to settle his liabilities.

He informed Satyabhama of this sinister plan, and she agreed. Basheer started preparations. For three days, he visited Padmavati on the pretext of drinking water. He learned that Padmavati had a habit of sleeping in the afternoon, and he planned the robbery accordingly.

Basheer also knew that his co-workers would take a nap after lunch. On Saturday afternoon, he reached the back of Padmavati’s house, climbed up, removed the ceiling tiles, and entered the house. As expected, Padmavati was sleeping in her room, and Basheer carefully removed the necklace from her neck. 

She woke up and tried to resist the robbery. When she woke up and defended the theft, Basheer decided to kill Padmavati. He covered her mouth, ensuring no sound escaped from the room. He used a towel lying on the bed and easily strangulated the 74-year-old victim.

The killer went back to the workplace and informed Satyabhama about what happened. Satyabhama instructed him to escape with the necklace and continued to work there. Basheer left the place, saying that his relative was sick, went to the pawn shop, and exchanged the jewelry for money. 

Satyabhama and Basheer met in the evening and shared the money. The plan was to go to work the next day as if nothing had happened. By night, Padmavati’s relatives came to know that she was murdered. 

The murder was confirmed in the post-mortem conducted by police surgeon Dr. P B Gujral. It was then that the police decided to question the workers. Police collected the details of all the laborers who worked there and instructed them to reach the Town South Police Station on 1 January. 

They noticed that Basheer was missing. After learning that the murder occurred in the afternoon, the police suspected Basheer from the beginning, especially since he returned from work that afternoon. Satyabhama, who arrived with other workers, was interrogated in detail. The closeness between Basheer and Satyabhama also raised more suspicions.

After learning that the police had started an investigation, Basheer tried to escape to Coimbatore. On receiving confirmation of the murder, Town South Inspector T Shiju Abraham formed a team of several officers and immediately caught the accused.

Both were later questioned in detail, and they gave contradicting statements. Police allegedly used ‘special tools,’ and both confessed to the crime. They were both arrested.

Police said that Satyabhama and Basheer had bought expensive mobile phones. They added that Satyabhama instigated Basheer to rob Padmavati’s jewelry so that they could settle their dues. 

The accused were brought to the spot yesterday to collect evidence. Basheer showed the police how he entered the house and committed the murder. The towel used to kill the elderly lady was recovered from a nearby stream, and Basheer handed it over to the police.

Police said that Basheer is an accused in more than six theft cases. He was a habitual thief who committed petty robberies whenever he needed easy money. Police hope that more theft cases will be solved based on Basheer’s statement.

Such incidences prove that employing Islamists without proper verification can turn deadly. These risks double, especially when there are elderly, weak, and vulnerable in the household. It also shows that grooming jihad is rampant even in districts like Palakkad that were considered safe from the menace.

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