"Moreover, I knew Sooraj wanted more money."
An Indian husband has been arrested for allegedly killing his wife by letting a cobra loose in her room.
Police in Kerala said that phone records showed that Sooraj had been in contact with serpent handlers and had also watched snake videos on the internet.
Although the victim was killed by a cobra, this was not the first attempt on her life using a snake.
The murder came to light on May 7, 2020, when Manimeghala and her husband Vijayasenan tried to wake their daughter up but were unsuccessful.
They rushed Uthra to the hospital where they found she had died and that she had been bitten by a snake again.
Upon returning to the house, Uthra’s parents, Sooraj and her brother Vishu found a cobra under a cupboard in the bedroom. The snake was later killed and buried.
A police statement said: “Sooraj stayed in the same room as Uthra as if nothing had happened.
“He was going about his morning routine the next day when he was alerted by Uthra’s mother’s screams.
“They took her to the hospital where the doctor said she had died.”
Uthra’s death was written off as one by snakebite, however, her parents had their doubts.
Previously, on March 2, 2020, Sooraj allegedly got hold of a venomous viper which later bit his wife. Uthra was rushed to hospital where she battled for her life. She ended up being discharged on April 22.
Uthra later told her parents that she had seen the viper inside the house.
Vijayasenan said: “This aroused suspicions in me. Also, she was bitten by the snake around 8.30 pm, but taken to the hospital only around 3 am.
“Why was that? Moreover, I knew Sooraj wanted more money.”
Uthra’s parents became more suspicious after their daughter’s death when the Indian husband tried to secure ownership of his wife’s property.
The parents then decided to approach the police.
The investigation focused on how Sooraj obtained the cobra. They found that he watched YouTube videos of snake catchers and that he had made numerous searches for local snake catchers.
Following his arrest, Sooraj was taken to Uthra’s house on May 25 where he aggressively denied killing his wife.
He also claimed that he was being implicated in a false case. However, according to police, he bought the cobra after the first attempt with the viper failed.
Kollam Rural Superintendent of Police Hari Sankar said:
“When she was sleeping, he took the cobra out of the jar in which he had kept it.
“He put the snake on her and watched as the snake bit her twice.”
“However, Sooraj could not catch the cobra again, and therefore, in the morning, he left the room as if nothing had happened. Our case is that he watched her die.”
It was reported that the Indian husband came into contact with Kaluvathikal Suresh, a snake catcher.
His son Sanal said that Sooraj had approached his father twice to buy two snakes. He said that when he read about Uthra’s death, he told his father to tell the police but he didn’t.
Kaluvathikal was also arrested for allegedly acting as a co-conspirator.
While the motive has not been confirmed, Uthra’s parents said Sooraj feared divorcing his wife as it would mean that he would have to return the dowry.
His marriage comprised of a new car and Rs. 500,000 (£5,400).
The police statement added: “Sooraj feared that divorcing Uthra would mean giving back all the dowry. That’s when he decided to kill her.”
The investigation is ongoing.