2016 Udupi hotelier murder: Wife, her friend, son get life

2016 Udupi hotelier murder: Wife, her friend, son get life

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THE wife and son of a wealthy hotelier from the Udupi region of coastal Karnataka were sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday for his sensational killing in July 2016, along with a priest and astrologer who was convicted of aiding the two.

Bhaskar Shetty, 50, the owner of Durga International Hotel in Udupi apart from several properties in the region and seven supermarkets in Saudi Arabia, was murdered at home. Police had soon after linked the murder to his wife Rajeshwari Shetty, now 54, son Navaneeth Shetty, now 26, and Rajeshwari’s friend and priest-astrologer Niranjan Bhat, now 30.

Announcing the sentence, Udupi Principal District and Sessions Judge J N Subramanya said the prosecution had proved its case. “The accused have been sentenced to life in prison for the offences of murder and criminal conspiracy (IPC 302 and 120 B) and four years rigorous imprisonment for destroying evidence (IPC 201).”

The murder occurred just two-and-a-half months after Shetty returned to live in Udupi with his wife and son, after working for many years in the Middle East.

He was not seen after July 28, 2016, afternoon, when he left Durga International Hotel for home, though his car and the footwear he was wearing at the time were recovered from the house. A missing complaint was filed by his mother, Gulabi Shetty, on July 29.

The CID that probed the case said the hotelier was murdered for his wealth by Rajeshwari, Navaneeth and Bhat, and the body was burnt at Bhat’s home. Rajeshwari and Bhat were reportedly having an affair. Bhat’s driver who allegedly helped dispose of the remains after the body had been burnt was acquitted by the Udupi court on the grounds that he didn’t know what the remains were.

Bhat’s father Srinivasa, also accused of helping dispose of the body, died during the course of the trial.

Shetty’s DNA later matched that of some bones recovered from a river.

Witnesses told police that on July 9, Navaneeth had hit his father at the hotel following a dispute over properties. Shetty’s family said that he had told them he would bequeath his entire property to an orphanage and his mother, but not his wife and son.

Police probe showed that the plans for the murder might have started on July 9, with the three convicts purchasing materials like a pepper spray, a rod etc.

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