The arrested Sushmitha, wife of businessman Muruganandam, and the 20-year-old niece Mitrakshi live in Besant Nagar. The family, on the other hand, suspected Mahalakshmi of physically abusing their nineyear-old son and also of killing two of their pet dogs.
Mahalakshmi’s body was had blisters, open wounds and blood clots on her legs and hands, which — the police said — indicating that she was tortured. The accused told the police that on Tuesday morning, they returned home from Kancheepuram to see that Mahalakshmi unwell.
The couple then called home a nurse from a private hospital to administer IV injection. Later in the evening, the Mahalakshmi died. Sources in the police said that Sushmita and her niece reportedly switched off all CCTV cameras in the house.
Around 8.30pm, when Muruganandam returned home from work and the women informed him about Mahalakshmi’s death. But, it was two hours later that Muruganandam called up the police and informed them about the death, claimed the sources.
“Their replies were not satisfactory,” said an officer. “The body of the girl bore injury marks — blisters after having spilled hot water, cuts from knives, apart from blood clots on her legs and hands. This made us suspicious and we took the Muruganandam, his wife and their niece in custody for investigations,” he added. During investigation, the Sushmitha and her niece confessed to torturing Mahalakshmi, the officer said.
A native of Rajahmundry district in Andhra Pradesh, the teenager used to work for Sushmitha’s aunt and was sent to Sushmitha’s house after she requested for it.
The police said that Sushmitha and Mithrakshi had been torturing the young woman since her arrival a year and a half ago. They used to beat her with whatever that they would get their hands on. Weakened by beatings and lack of proper food made her weak and unable to work well for which she was assaulted again, said the police.