Monday, Nov 24, 2014

Sorry to kill a great story, there’s no Hercule Parrot

It’s Hira and here it cracks a nut, not a murder. (pritha chatterjee) It’s Hira and here it cracks a nut, not a murder. (Pritha Chatterjee)
Written by Pritha Chatterjee | Agra | Posted: March 1, 2014 4:30 am

This parrot is no Hercule, after all. He’s only Hira — Hero Hiralal maybe, but certainly no Poirot.

He has been celebrated in the international media — who took their cue from some imaginative reporting in India — for solving the “blind” murder of his mistress in Agra earlier this week. Turns out unfortunately, that the facts of the case are a lot more mundane.

First, the story.

Vijay Sharma, the editor of Hindi daily Swaraj Times, returned home from a wedding with his children late at night on February 20 to find his wife Neelam and the family’s pet dog Tuffy stabbed to death, the house ransacked, and jewellery and cash missing. Their other pet, a parrot, was found alive in his cage, covered with a bedsheet.

On February 26, sections of the media reported that the crime had been solved. And the hero, the reports said, was an unlikely Poirot — the parrot in the cage, who was, by an incredible coincidence, called Hercule.

This detective would apparently start flapping his wings and screeching hysterically whenever Sharma’s nephew Ashutosh was mentioned — a reaction that led the police to investigate Ashutosh, and ultimately establish that he had, along with an accomplice, killed his aunt and the dog.

Now, the facts.

Sharma told police that his wife had not been keeping well, and he had locked her in so she wouldn’t have to get up when he returned at night. He also said she was likely to have thrown the key down from the terrace only to someone she knew well. Once investigators knew the killers had had a friendly entry into the home, they began looking at the location of the cellphones of the family’s friends and relatives at the time.

“It was a long and ardous process, and we managed to nab the accused only on the 25th — four days after the crime,” Agra SSP Shalabh Mathur said. Police claim they got to Ashutosh Goswami, who is Sharma’s sister’s son, on their own, while Sharma says the family told police to check on Ashutosh after they noticed he was behaving “suspiciously”.

“Ashutosh came the day after the murder and attended the funeral, but we noticed he would not go near her room. He had an injury on his hand that looked like a bite, and every time we asked him how he had got it, he would give different answers… sometimes he said a cow had bitten him, sometimes he said he had fallen off his bike,” Sharma told The Indian Express.
Police said Ashutosh was probably bitten by Tuffy the dog. “He had also stolen the victim’s mobile phone, which he forgot to switch off immediately, so we traced its location,” Mathur said. Police raided his home, and retrieved the kitchen knife he is suspected to have used in continued…

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