Bengaluru police have arrested the editor of a Kannada tabloid in connection with the recent deaths of his wife, two daughters and a son. Bengaluru police also took into custody husbands of the deceased daughters.
The four deaths — allegedly by suicide — and murder of a nine-month-old infant took place at the north Bengaluru residence of Shasakara Patrike (Legislators Paper) editor Hallegere Shankar.
The incident came to light on the evening of September 17, when the 59-year-old Shankar returned home after five days, police said.
Shankar’s two-year-old granddaughter miraculously survived for four days after the death of other people in the house. The toddler was caught on CCTV cameras, clinging to her grandfather once he was back home.
Shankar blamed wife Bharathi for the family tragedy in his initial statement to the police. He claimed she had brought unhappiness to his daughters Sinchana Kumari and Sindhu Rani by forcing them to separate from their husbands. He also stated that he left the house earlier that week following a financial dispute with family members.
However, police later found a note written by his son Madhusagar, which blamed Shankar for the extreme step being taken by family members. Shankar apparently had been neglecting the family as he had relationships with several women.
After initially viewing it as a case of unnatural deaths, Bengaluru police on September 29 registered a case of murder when forensic reports indicated the nine-month-old infant – Shankar’s grandson – had been strangulated to death.
Thereafter, police consulted legal experts and registered an FIR against Shankar and his sons-in-law for abetment to suicide by mentally and physically torturing their family members. All three were then arrested.
Police also recovered notes written by Shankar’s daughters which claimed that they were being constantly harassed and tortured by their husbands, father and in-laws.