The Stories Of 14 Riveting Indian Homicides That Remain Unsolved Till Today

We've all had those days, curled up on a couch with a cup of warm tea and a good crime fiction novel - the perfect recipe for a rainy weekend. Typed out in ink, crimes can be intriguing and absorb you completely. But, when it comes to real life - there's a whole lot more to it than intrigue.  
Both morbidly enthralling and deeply saddening, unsolved crime stories leave you in oscillating somewhere between anger and maddening curiosity. Whether you're here to play detective and solve the whodunit, or point fingers at our failed justice system, you can be sure of one thing--there's so much more to real human emotions that even the most thrilling fiction can't capture. 
With scientific breakthroughs making it easier to find new evidence - DNA testing, semen analysis, brain mapping - one might think that our justice system's ability to solve homicides would have increased, at least incrementally if not massively. Still, numerous cases in the last decade, whether it's the Salman Khan verdict, or the split-down-the-middle Aarushi Talwar case, have proven otherwise. Every culprit left un-cuffed, every family that still awaits closure - these things only reiterate the judiciary's unfulfilled responsibilities. 
Honouring the victims of acts of passion, greed, jealousy and more, we compile a list of 14 unsolved crimes. Even though the justice system could not provide their families with closure, it may bring solace to know that their stories have a voice even today. 

 1. LAKSHMIKANTHAN MURDER CASE

A tabloid journalist was stabbed to death in Vepery, Madras Presidency.

When: 1944

The Crime Story:
Cinema Thoothu
Hindu Nesan
T.N. Bhagavathar-- one of the accused in the case Image Source: Asian Tribune

2. THE SUKUMARA KURUP CASE

In a fraud case gone wrong, a young man loses his life to a freak coincidence in Mavelikara, Kerala.

When: 1984

The Crime Story:
The most wanted Sukumara Kurup and Bhaskara Pillai Image Source: www.indiatvnews.com

 3. THE STONEMAN KILLINGS

A serial killer was on a spree, claiming ragpickers and homeless people as victims

When: 1985

The Crime Story:
Stoneman
Image Source: www.unsolvedmysteriesindia.blogspot.in/

 4. AMAR SINGH CHAMKILA MURDER

A Punjabi folk singer-duo was gunned down in the middle of the night.

When: 1988

The Crime Story: Born into a poor family, Danni Ram Singh had a natural talent for music. And, it was only a matter of time till he made something out of it. In 1979 his first album, for which he collaborated with the female vocalist Surinder Sonia, released and it was a huge success. His lyrics, which were drawn from experiences of Punjabi village life, received mixed responses. While many applauded the apt commentary on the social evils prevalent in society, the others considered his boyish charm and suggestive lines obscene. Regardless, Chamkila came to be a household name all over.

Image Source: Desi Comments

5. SHIVANI BHATNAGAR CASE

An Indian Express journalist was found dead in her apartment.

When: 1999

The Crime Story: A principal correspondent with the Indian Express and member of their Special Investigative team was found murdered in her apartment in East Delhi. Since there were no signs of forced entry, it is believed that her attackers might have been known to her, or else they used a ruse to enter. Indian Express reports suggested that the room has been ransacked post the murder, but there is no clue as to what they were looking for. It is worth mentioning that she was an investigative journalist who had uncovered and reported various scams.

Image Source: The Hindu

6. THE DEATH OF PRINCE SANTHARAM

The dead body of Santharam was found in Kodaikanal by the police, the murder linked to an affluent businessman.

When: 2001

The Crime Story:

Born into a low-caste family (at a time when your caste dictated what your life would be like), P. Rajagopal decided torisk it all, and started his own chain of restaurants. He was extremely successful, with patrons constantly flocking in and out. And, ultimately in 2000, he was able to set up his first branch outside India.

The story, as explained by the Madras High Court, is a little hazy, but remains the only narrative that tells the story without any filters. Rajagopal wished to marry Jeevajothi (making her his third wife), but she, as fate would have it, was in love with Santhakumar, and the two eloped in 1999. As a  man who had learnt to make his own destiny, Rajagopal was not ready to let the object of his fixation get away so easily. So, he pursued her relentlessly. On October 31, 2001, the police discovered the body of Santhakumar, who had died due to asphyxia. Daniel, one of Rajagopal’s trusted employees had been tied to the murder - he was tried and convicted, and later released on bail only to be never found again.

In 2004, Rajagopal was charged with murder and he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Eight months into the sentence, he was released on medical grounds and by the end of that year, the restaurant chain had opened 29 branches worldwide. In 2009, the Madras High Court upgraded the conviction from culpable homicide to murder, and extended his punishment to a life imprisonment. Three months into the punishment, he was released once again on bail, pending a Supreme Court hearing, which is likely to never occur.

P. Rajagopal with one of his employees Image Source: New York Times

 7. THE MURDER OF GARIMA SHARMA

A seven-year-old girl was found dead, culprit unknown.

When: 2003

The Crime Story:

 8.  THE BEERMAN KILLINGS

A series of seven murders held the city of Mumbai in terror. The only tying factor was the beer bottle left next to each victim.

When: October 2006- January 2007

The Crime Story:
Image used for representational purposes only. Image Source: The Guardian

9. THE SNEHAL GAWARE MURDER:

24 hours after she went missing, her body was discovered hidden in her house.

When: 2007

The Crime Story:
A policeman holding a photograph of Snehal Image Source: I Times

10. RIZWANUR RAHMAN MURDER:

A man’s dead body was found near the railway tracks. The incident was ruled out as an accident by the police.

When: 2007

The Crime Story:
Rizwanur and Priyanka Image Source: New York Times

 11.THE SCARLETT KEELING CASE:

A crime on Goa's beach claimed the life of a young girl on holiday.

When: 2008

The Crime Story:  On February 18, 2008, Scarlett Keeling’ bruised body was was found on the shores of Anjuna beach. Initially, the case was dismissed as a case of accidental drowning, until her mother sought a second post-mortem which revealed she had been drugged and raped. For the past seven years, her mother has been on a long campaign awaiting justice. Two local men were accused, but there was never enough evidence to convict them. Her mother. having lost faith in our justice system, has begun to believe that she may never find answers. Still, she continues to wait, hoping that one day these men will be punished for their crimes.

Image Source: www.documentingreality.com/

 12. THE CHENNAI TRIPLE MURDERS:

A septuagenarian couple and their maid fell victim to a murder-cum-robbery.

When: 2008

The Crime Story: On 20 November 2008, S. Saravanan, his wife, S. Kasthuri, and their domestic help, K. Inbarasi, were found dead, with multiple stab injuries, on the second floor of their house. There were several indications to prove that it was a murder-cum-robbery incident. Even though the jewelry on both the women was intact, the almirahs in the house were ransacked.

Satish Kumar, a call taxi driver along with all the old drivers of Saravanan were considered as suspects to this case. However, the case built by the police seemed to have several holes, starting with the fact that not all the documents and properties of the family was accounted for. Even though several jewels and other important items were missing, the report never indicated this. A year after the murder, the Assistant Commissioner of Police Sethuraman, who was in-charge of the case, was found guilty of accepting bribes, which brought the credibility of the entire case into question. And once again, we are left to wonder how we can place our faith in a system willing to sell us to the devil for a piece of gold.

The police name the driver as the culprit Image Source: The Hindu

13. ARUSHI-HEMRAJ--THE NOIDA DOUBLE MURDER:

A 14 year-old-girl and her 45-year-old domestic help were found murdered within the Talwar household.

When: 2008

The Crime Story: The story of Arushi Talwar was one that shocked the entire nation. As the media carefully followed this story and sensationalized its every discovery, whispers and countless controversies surrounded this grieving family. Recent developments in the case led to the arrest of Arushi's parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, and they were charged with homicide. However, the fact that this case has its fair share of loopholes and grey areas is not news to anyone, which is what convinced us it deserved a slot on this compilation either way.

There are several points, from narratives of the Talwars and others, where the events of that night seem inconsistent with the rest of the story. Chunnilal Gautam, the UP Police photographer and fingerprint collector, had clicked ample photos and collected fingerprints that morning, yet 22 of 24 fingerprints are fuzzy, and 23 of his photographs don't match the negatives. In addition, he neglected to take pictures of blood-stained footprints on the terrace where Hemraj's body was found.

When Hemraj was thought to be missing, he became a primary suspect until his body was discovered on the terrace. Seven days later, Rajesh arrested for the double murder and he was released on bail two months later. At this point, a senior police officer revealed in a press conference that Rajesh had killed them after finding the two in a compromising position-- a story that had no basis or evidence. The case gets curiouser and curiouser, as in June, three friends of Hemraj was arrested under suspicion, only to be released three months later.

Despite having no foolproof evidence, the couple was arrested for the murder, possibly an effort to close the case as quickly as possible. If they are truly not the murderers, we are left with two things to worry about: the gross miscarriage of justice and the fact that the actual murderer roams free till date.

People pay respects to Aarushi Image Source: www.latestmedia.files.wordpress.com

14. KOLKATA'S HITCHCOCK HOUSE

A unique set of circumstances surrounded two bodies bodies found within the De household. 

When: 2015

The Crime Story:  On June 11, the Kolkata police arrived at Partha De's house after the locals alerted them about smoke coming out of one of the windows. In a story that would slowly unfold to resonate with Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho', the police stumbled upon the charred body of a 77 year old man within one of the bathrooms, and a skeleton of a woman in one of the bedrooms. Two bags full of dog bones were also found in one of the rooms. It ultimately came to light that 77 year old victim Arabinda De's son Partha De had been living with the corpse of his sister, who had reportedly died in December last year.

Investigations revealed that De, in all likelihood,was mentally unstable. He couldn't come to terms with the death of their dogs and his sister, as a result of which he refused to cremate them.  He was convinced that his sister's spirit would visit him and he would also leave food for her next to her body. Partha's father who burned himself to death, was unaware of the death of his daughter until April this year.

 The three occupants of the house maintained diaries and notes, which they believe is the medium through which they communicated. Several of Partha De's diary entries suggest that he was displeased with his mother, who died in 2002,  because she thought he was impotent. A Indian Express report says, "In an entry, Partho said that during an outstation trip, his sister, Debjani, had tried to get physically intimate with him." Given his mental condition, there are doubts about how much is real and how much is imagined.

The family had turned into a recluse ever since the mother's death, as a result of which none of their relatives had a clear understanding of their family dynamics. Even though evidence suggests that the father's death was a suicide, the real human conflicts ailing the members of the De family might never come to light.

Patra De Image Source: www.dailyo.in
Partha De Image Source: www.dailyo.in

 Words: Krupa Joseph

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