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In bizarre crime of many passions, how Udaipur tantrik plotted couple’s ‘perfect murder’ with glue

Bhalesh Kumar allegedly watched crime thriller Drishyam to prepare himself, conducted reconnaissance to detect CCTVs & cultivated likely witnesses, before 'murdering' Rahul Meena & Sonu Kunwar.

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UDAIPUR: The tools for the ‘perfect’ murder were allegedly prepared over weeks — a knife sharpened to standards a Samurai would have approved of, and two hundred millilitres (ml) of superglue drawn from individual vials. Educating himself on the art of building an alibi by obsessively watching Drishyam, a 2015 crime-thriller starring Ajay Devgun, the alleged killer  is said to have conducted careful reconnaissance to detect closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) around the crime spot to avoid detection, and cultivated likely witnesses.

Then, on 18 November, the naked bodies of Rahul Meena and his alleged lover, Sonu Kunwar, were found deep inside the Kelabavadi forest, with their heads smashed and their throats slit. There were severe injuries on the genitals, and parts of their skin had been peeled off.

Local police told ThePrint that they first suspected the couple had been the victims of “honour killing” or “loot”—but when the investigation revealed their eyes and mouths had been sealed with superglue, before they were killed, they realised this was an an out of ordinary murder.

The couple’s clothes, moreover, were placed in neat piles by the side of a tree, together with their shoes. Kunwar’s gold chain also remained on her neck, which ruled out loot as the motive of the crime.

Fifty-five-year-old Bhalesh Kumar, a Tantrik from Udaipur’s Gogunda area, almost succeeded in getting away with one the most bizarre murders ever committed, but his occult powers couldn’t defeat modern forensic techniques and careful investigation. He was arrested on 22 November.

“The crime scene got us thinking,” recalled station house officer, Gogunda police station, Yogender Vyas. He added: “We first thought it might be an honour killing or a love triangle. But who would have smeared the couple with superglue while they were having sex?”

According to police, the tantric allegedly planned the murder because Rahul had demanded “sexual favours” from his elder daughter, which had enraged him. Moreover, Sonu, was threatening to implicate him in a case of rape, because he told her family about her extra marital affair with Rahul, police added.

Kumar, who has been charged with murder, has been sent to judicial custody.

ThePrint approached his family in Gogunda for comment but the decline. “What can we say. He did what he had to,” said a relative, who did not share his name.

Also read: Ground intestines to ‘keema’, refrigerated head near cold drinks — how chef ‘hid’ body of lover

A crime of many passions

Like the gods in ancient legends, Bhalesh Kumar promised to make his followers’ dreams come true if they passed a test. A devotee who chanted a jaap, a mantra or divine name, one lakh and fifteen thousand times using the rudraksha prayer beads given to them by the tantrik, could ask for whatever they wanted.

Local residents claimed the godman was generous. In the past, some who passed the test had even asked to be given mutts and temples run by him — which he handed over without question, they said.

Rahul Meena, who the police said, was also one of Kumar’s disciples, was also given the chant.

“After finishing the jaap, Rahul Meena asked for Kumar’s daughter to be his mistress,”, additional superintendent of police, Udaipur, Kundan Kunawaria told ThePrint.

He added: “This deeply enraged the tantrik, and he began plotting the devotee’s murder.”

The tantrik discovered that Rahul — married, with a family  — was having an affair with Sonu, the wife of another devotee, police said.

Kumar allegedly wanted to kill Sonu because she had threatened to frame him in a case of molestation. “The Tantrik told Sonu’s family about the affair, and asked them to keep her away from Rahul,” Kanwaria said. “The women responded with anger, and threatened to implicate him in a molestation or rape case. She also threatened to discredit him and his tantric vidya across villages in the district, which made him angry.

The couple, police alleged, agreed to accompany Kumar to the forest, after the families called a meeting to discuss how the affair could be brought to an end. “Kumar had told the couple that he had promised their families that he would convince them to not see each other again,” said Kanwaria.

For the last time, Sonu and Rahul were to meet in the woods, have sex, and then go their separate ways — all under the gaze of the godman, claimed police.

The meticulous murderer

All the while, Udaipur superintendent of police (SP) Vikas Sharma claimed, Kumar was meticulously planning his vengeance, down to the last detail.

“He often used super glue to make taweez (amulets) for his followers,” said Sharma, “and his fingers would get glued together”. “This is how he got the idea that the glue could be used to incapacitate his victims, by smearing it on their eyes and mouths.”

Little vials of superglue, the police alleged, were carefully emptied into a sealed bottle, until the tantrik had some 200 ml at hand. He also began sharpening the knife he used to cut kalawa, the red thread tied on the wrist of devotees, until it had a razor-like edge.

Following a careful study of Drisbyam, the tantrik also studied routes leading to the forest which were not covered by closed-circuit cameras and set about planning his alibi, police claimed.

“Luckily for us, there was a private camera that was installed on the back side of an old house, which he was unaware of, which gave us our breakthrough,” Vyas said.

From the forest, Bhalesh Kumar is alleged to have gone to the house of one of his followers to wish his daughter on her birthday. He also gave her money. He then went to another follower’s residence, Vyas claimed.

“To go to the house of his followers, he deliberately took the route that has CCTV cameras, so that he can establish that he was not around the crime scene anywhere on that day,” Vyas added.

Everything went as planned, but the gods the tantrik worshipped were to be beaten by even more powerful magic.

Also read: Ground intestines to ‘keema’, refrigerated head near cold drinks — how chef ‘hid’ body of lover

The magic of modern investigation

A black jacket tossed near the crime scene, together with a pair of surgical gloves, gave police the lead they needed.

“The jackets which belonged to the couple had been neatly placed with their other clothes,” a senior officer in Udaipur police told ThePrint. “This meant the third jacket belonged to someone else, possibly the killer.” The surgical gloves, moreover, had pieces of peeled human tissue stuck to them, together with blood, added the officer.

“We believe that when Bhalesh Kumar tried to take off the gloves, the superglue probably took off some of his skin, and possibly that of the victims too,” the officer said. “The gloves have now been sent for a forensic examination to match the residual skin with that of the tantrik and the victims.”

The police were also able to find the mobile phone owned by Rahul, which led to the identity of the couple being established. To trace the route that the couple took to reach the scene of the crime, police accessed their call detail records and tower location of their phones. This helped establish the rough route the couple crossed.

“We prepared two routes — one for Rahul and the other for Sonu — tracing their journey right from the time they left their homes,” Vyas said. “Once we had all locations, our teams went out searching for CCTV cameras along those routes and got a dump from all possible points,” he added.

This gave the police a breakthrough.

A CCTV camera, installed behind a house next to Sonu’s residence, showed three people leaving the area on a bike, said officers in Udaipur police. While Sonu was sitting in the middle, Rahul was at the back, and a third man was riding the bike. When the police looked closely, they found a man wearing the same black jacket that they had found at the scene of the crime, claimed the officers.

“There we found the man we had been looking for. He was riding the bike, wearing the same black jacket and Sonu was sitting behind him. Rahul too was there. We tried to see the bike number, but it was not very clear in that footage,” Vyas said.

Meanwhile, the police got another footage, they said, which was from another camera on the highway, in which they could see the rider, his jacket and the bike. Although the registration number was still not clear in this footage as well, the police found another crucial clue, a snake painted on the headlight of the bike.

“We mobilised our teams immediately to look for such a bike in the area,” Vyas said. “When our team went to Sonu’s residence and asked for such a bike, one of her neighbours said that it belonged to a bauji (a term of respect for an elder, akin to father), who frequented the house,” Vyas said.

“When the teams dug deeper to find bauji, it led us to the tantrik. Some neighbours knew him and that is when he called him for questioning,” he added.

“The moment he came in for questioning, we were able to identify him as the rider in the CCTV footage, wearing the jacket found at the scene of crime, police said. He also had injuries on his hand — his skin had come off, from the use of the superglue and he also had some cut marks that he may have sustained while executing the murder,” Vyas added.

Talking about the investigation, Sharma told ThePrint, “this was a tough case to crack, but the entire team worked relentlessly to make it a success”.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: ‘Dear Death, please come…’, says diary of ‘depressed’ man held for murder of J&K DG Prisons


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