A couple was arrested Thursday for allegedly beheading a 3-month-old baby girl as part of a human sacrifice ritual during the lunar eclipse on January 31. The ritual was allegedly performed on the advice of a ‘tantrik‘ by cab driver Kerukonda Rajasekhar and his wife Srilatha.
Rajasekhar had allegedly abducted the baby girl while she was asleep beside her parents, both beggars, on a footpath in Bhoiguda. He then took the baby to Musi river near Prathapsingaram to allegedly carry out the beheading. After dumping the torso into the rive, he carried home the severed head in a polythene bag.
“After 3 am, Rajeshekar performed “kshudra pooja” (black magic) along with his wife Srilatha in the living room of their residence in Chilukanagar, keeping the severed head at the altar. After the ritual, Rajashekar carried the severed head to the terrace and kept it in the south-west corner under the lunar eclipse moonlight and the rising sun around 4 am. In the morning, Rajashekar left for work as usual in his cab for Madhapur, to avoid any sort of suspicion,” a police official said.
The alleged murder came to light on February 1 when Rajasekhar’s mother-in-law went to the terrace to pick up dry clothes. Although police had suspected Rajasekhar of committing the crime, he allegedly kept misleading them by claiming that it was the handiwork of either his neighbours or enemies.
Police, however, investigated call data records of 122 SIM cards used in the area by residents and others, before and after the incident, and eliminated 45 suspects including 10 persons that Rajasekhar had named.
On February 9, a second clues team visited his single-storey house again and, after hours of search, managed to find a speck of blood on the floor of his bedroom. Rachakonda Police Commissioner M M Bhagwat said that the forensic lab report indicated that the DNA from the severed head matched the blood stain collected from the house.
Meanwhile, another team interviewed Rajasekhar’s family members and allegedly found that he is extremely superstitious and had been visiting black magicians and witch doctors after he was beset by financial difficulties and his wife Srilatha had fallen ill four years ago.
Police found that the couple had visited tribal deities Sammakka Saralamma at Medaram two years ago, where they allegedly consulted a black magic follower who advised them to offer the human sacrifice of a girl child to solve their problems. Rajashekar had also allegedly consulted three other followers of black magic but was not satisfied with their suggestions and remedies. Finally, he decided to offer “narabali“, police said.
When confronted with the DNA evidence, police claimed that Rajasekhar had confessed that he performed a “kshudra pooja” on the advice of a tantric for the well being of his wife. As the tantric had advised that the rays of the moon and sun should touch the head of the sacrificed girl for 24 hours, he had kept the severed head on the terrace.
During interrogation, his wife Srilatha confessed to having encouraged her husband to commit the crime, police said. Police recovered a knife, feeding bottle with nipple from under the spare wheel in his car, and a few artefacts used in black magic rituals. The couple were produced before a local court today.