Nine years after the murder of software professional Payal Surekha in Bengaluru, a special CBI court in the city has sentenced the convict, gym trainer James Kumar Roy, to life imprisonment. A fine of Rs 1 lakh has also been imposed on him.
Surekha was killed in December 2010 in her flat in JP Nagar’s RBI Layout, an upmarket residential area of Bengaluru. According to the police chargesheet, she was bound and stabbed 23 times.
The then-inspector of JP Nagar police station, S K Umesh, had recovered a blood-stained knife and a pair of goggles after he arrested Roy. Later, Roy confessed to the murder, saying he killed Surekha in revenge after he was sacked from a gym managed by her husband, Anantha Narayana Mishra, in Odisha. Surekha was also part of the management team at the gym.
The case was handed over to the CBI in 2013, after Surekaha’s parents moved Supreme Court, suspecting Mishra’s role in the murder. It was Roy who had sent a letter to her parents, alleging Mishra paid him Rs 10 lakh to kill Surekha.
According to the chargesheet by the CBI, Roy was sacked after Surekha found him guilty of misappropriating funds and misbehaving with women customers at the gym. “This propelled him to kill her. He knew the couple had settled back in Bengaluru after their brief stint in Odisha,” a police officer said.
During the probe, the CBI had found that the DNA collected from hair strands at the crime scene matched with those of the accused. The special CBI court maintained that Roy was the only culprit, and Mishra had no role in the murder.