Photo of Suraj and Uthra (Source: manoramaonline.com)
Suraj and Uthra from Kerala in India were first married on March 26, 2018. About 3 months after the wedding, there were reports of domestic abuse problems in the marriage.
The domestic feud led to a family intervention and talks of a divorce after 2 years of marriage. However Suraj was hesitant to get a divorce from his wife.
His reluctance to get a divorce was due to financial difficulties. As is the custom in most Indian marriages, he had received a dowry from his wife’s family. The dowry included 96 sovereigns of gold (worth approx $46,000), a new car, and cash amounting to $7000 (conversion of Indian rupee to dollar value). In addition, Suraj’s father had also received a van as part of the dowry.
Suraj was afraid the dowry would have to be returned in the case of a divorce. There were also reports that Suraj had taken out a big life insurance policy in his wife’s name.
Suraj made every effort to avoid the divorce for financial reasons.
In addition to taking out a life insurance policy in his wife’s name, there were other signs that indicated that Suraj was potentially evil in nature.
Suraj had committed financial fraud as an employee at the company he was working at and was in danger of being arrested by the police. However the incident was averted when Uthra’s father agreed to pay Rs 50,000 so that Suraj could avoid going to jail.
Suraj was also a complainer at his workplace. He would often get upset about his salary saying that he was not paid enough. Again, Uthra’s father came to the rescue and deposited Rs 8000 every month into his daughter’s account so that the couple could have that extra bit of cash.
In the meantime, Uthra was subjected to continuous harassment and domestic violence by her husband and in-laws. Suraj’s father, mother and sister were all involved in the mental and physical abuse of Uthra.
Two years would pass since the wedding and Uthra gave birth to their son but the harrassment from Suraj and his family never ceased.
When events became even more heated, Uthra finally decided that she had had enough and would seek a divorce. This was when Suraj started plotting a murder using a most unusual murder weapon — a deadly snake.
The Murder of Uthra
There is no mention in the media as to how or why Suraj came up with the idea of snakes as a good murder weapon. However, it is thought that Suraj was already familiar with the handling of venomous snakes and was acquainted with the local snake handler.
There were 2 attempts on Uthra’s life. The first attempt took place on March 2, 2020. Suraj had bought a Russell’s viper for Rs 10,000 from the local snake handler. He planted the snake in the bedroom where his wife was sleeping and she was bitten by the snake.
The bite from a Russell’s viper is very painful, serious, and deadly. Symptoms include swelling, bleeding in the gums and urine, a drop in blood pressure and heart rate, vomiting, facial swelling and kidney failure. Recovery from the bite depends on early medical treatment and access to anti-venom.
Surprisingly Uthra survived the first snake bite although she was bed-ridden for 52 days and had to undergo plastic surgery. During this time, Uthra moved back in with her parents from her husband’s home. At this point, no one suspected her husband of foul play.
It was 2 months into her recovery that the second snake bite incident took place costing her life in the process.
On the night of May 6, 2020, Suraj sedated his wife and then placed a cobra on her bed while she was sleeping. The cobra bit his wife twice. In the meantime, Suraj tried to retrieve the snake but failed as it hid in the room. He left before his dead wife was discovered by her parents. The room was later searched and the cobra was found and killed.
Uthra was only 25 years old when she died and she left behind an infant son.
Suspicions were raised by Uthra’s parents after her death that Suraj might have had something to do with the snake bites. It seemed improbable that a person could be bitten by two different venomous snakes within the span of 2 months.
A snake expert testified that it would be impossible for either the Russell’s viper or the cobra to enter Uthra’s bedroom unaided. In the first snake bite incident, her bedroom was on the second floor and during the second fatal incident, Uthra was sleeping in an air-conditioned bedroom in her parents’ home. Both rooms would have been inaccessible to snakes unless they were carried there by a human being.
The police interrogated Suraj and he finally confessed to sedating Uthra, bringing the snakes into the rooms in a bottle, and throwing them on top of her while she was asleep. He had purchased each snake for Rs 10,000 from the local snake handler.
When the bite from the Russell’s viper failed to kill Uthra, Suraj decided to purchase one of the deadliest snakes in the world, the Indian cobra.
The police arrested multiple people in the murder of Uthra. Suraj was the main culprit but they also arrested the snake handler for aiding in the purchase and handling of the venomous snakes. It was thought that he had some knowledge of the plot to kill Uthra.
Suraj’s family members including his parents and sister were arrested for the domestic violence abuse against Uthra and for plotting to hide the extent of Suraj’s crime by destroying evidence.
Uthra’s body was cremated and the remains of the snake that killed her was buried near the site of her cremation.
In the end, it was determined that Suraj was only after Uthra’s gold jewelry and assets. His ultimate intention was to remarry a different woman after he had killed his wife.