Woman, son, and astrologer sentenced to life for murder
The Udupi Principal District and Sessions Court on Tuesday convicted three, including hotelier K. Bhaskar Shetty’s wife Rajeshwari Shetty (51) and their son Navaneeth Shetty (22), of the murder of the hotelier in 2016 and sentenced them to life.
Principal District and Sessions Judge J.N. Subramanya passed the conviction order in the morning and pronounced the sentence in the afternoon. The accused, including astrologer Niranjan Bhat (26), were convicted of the crime and sentenced under Sections 302 (murder) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). They were also sentenced to four years rigorous imprisonment for the offence under Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of the IPC. All the sentences will run concurrently.
The judge acquitted Raghavendra, car driver of Bhat family, of the charge of destruction of evidence.
Bhaskar Shetty and Rajeshwari were running Durga International Hotel in Udupi and owned several fixed assets in Udupi besides operating seven supermarkets in Saudi Arabia.
The convicted were charged with murdering Bhaskar Shetty in his house at Hayagreevanagar, Indrali, in Udupi on July 28, 2016.
Later, the body was shifted in a car to Niranjan’s residence at Nandalike near K arkala where it was burnt in a Homa Kunda using petrol. A few days later, Niranjan, with the help of Raghavendra, transported the body residues to a river about 15 km away from his house and threw them into the water.
Mr. Subramanya said that the prosecution was able to prove beyond doubt on the basis of circumstantial evidence that the accused murdered Bhaskar Shetty over an illicit relationship between Rajeshwari and Niranjan. For this reason, Bhaskar Shetty intended to donate his property to charity and give a portion of it to his mother.
On July 29, Bhaskar Shetty’s mother, Gulabi Shedthi, filed a complaint with the Manipal police stating that her son had gone missing since 2 p.m. the previous day and suspected that he may have been murdered.
Police inspector Girish, who investigated the case, arrested Rajeshwari, Navaneeth, Niranjan, Srinivas, and Raghavendra. Criminal Investigation Department’s Deputy Superintendent of Police S.T. Chandrashekar and his team took up further investigation on August 18, 2016.
On Tuesday, Rajeshwari and Raghavendra were present in person in court, while Navaneeth and Niranjan were produced virtually from Bengaluru Central Prison through videoconference. The judge said that Rajeshwari will be lodged in the Bengalaru Central Prison. As Rajeshwari expressed before court that she is facing a threat to her life, the judge directed the police and the local jail authorities to provide protection to her during her transit and stay.