Lure of getting rich and two gruesome murders: Chilling details emerge from Kerala ‘human sacrifice’ case


We often see movies about human sacrifices and hear about them in fictional books, but on Tuesday reel turned into a horrific reality when three people were arrested in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district for allegedly abducting, beheading and then burying two women as part of a ritual to gain financial prosperity.

According to the police, Roslin and Padma, who were from different parts of Ernakulam district, were killed by a couple — Bhagaval Singh and wife Laila — who wanted to end their financial troubles and get rich.

The cops added that the chopped body parts of Roslin and Padma were exhumed from the premises of the couple’s house at Elanthoor village in Pathanamthitta.

As the couple were taken into custody, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed shock over the incident, saying only those with a sick mindset could commit such crimes. Black magic and witchcraft rituals could only be seen as a challenge to civilised society.

The DYFI, the youth organisation of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) {CPI(M)}, said such an incident was a disgrace to the state of Kerala which is a model in the country on various social, cultural and literacy factors.

Here’s what we know about the gruesome murders and how the slaughter was months in the making.

The accused and their plot to kill

The police have revealed that the main mastermind behind the murders is a man identified as Mohammed Shafi alias Rasheed. He set the trap by making a fake account on Facebook under the name of Sreedevi and befriended Bhagaval Singh.

The cops have said that Bhagaval Singh and his wife, Laila, were local medics and ran an Ayurvedic massage therapy centre in the village. Bhagaval had acquired some popularity on Facebook for publishing haikus and for some he was also a supporter of the CPI(M) who at times shared posts and posters supportive of the ideology.

Mathew, who lived close to the couple, was quoted as telling The Quint, “We have known these people for years. They lived in the 13th ward of Elanthoor village. Singh’s father was a well-known massage therapist in his time, and after he died, Singh took over the business and has been practising the same with his wife for years.”

Investigations reveal that Shafi, who pretended to be Sreedevi, then convinced the couple that human sacrifice could bring them wealth and prosperity. He promised that he would bring a woman who could be offered as sacrifice.

Finding their victims

Once Shafi had convinced Bhagaval and Laila of the human sacrifice, he began scouting for his potential victims.

In June, Shafi identified his first victim. Kochi Police Commissioner C Nagaraju said that 49-year-old Roslin, who sold lottery tickets in Kalady, went missing in June and was killed within 24 hours of her disappearance. Shafi had offered her Rs 10 lakh to be part of a video shoot and took her to Elanthoor following which she was brutally murdered at the couple’s house.

A News9Live report reported that Roslin’s daughter had filed a missing complaint in August after she had last contacted her mother on 6 June. However, the police failed to find any leads into her missing.

When the couple questioned Shafi for not getting enough ‘results’, he convinced them to offer another sacrifice.

Shafi then lured Padma, a lottery ticket vendor who lived in Elamkulam, to the couple and she was sacrificed in the promise of getting rich.

How the crimes came to light

Cops have said that the entire despicable crime came to light owing to the missing person complaint that was filed by Padma’s sister Palaniyamma. When police tracked her phone, the last signals showed the Elanthoor area and led them to Shafi.

On questioning him, Shafi broke down and admitted to kidnapping the two women.

“During our investigation regarding the missing woman from Kadavanthara (Ernakulam), we came to know that she was killed in that couple’s house in Thiruvalla and her body was buried after being cut into pieces there. It was a ritualistic human sacrifice for the financial benefit of that couple,” Kochi City Police Commissioner Nagaraju Chakilam said.

On interrogating Bhagaval Singh and his wife, they confessed to the “sacrifice” of another woman in the same house in June. That woman was Roslin, the police said.

“There are many layers to this case. We have now understood that the human sacrifice was done for the financial benefits of the couple. Also, we came to know the middleman has been paid. We need more time to unearth the entire case and also we are probing on the involvement of more people in the murder,” the police chief was quoted as saying by NDTV.

The police chief added that they are also investigating if Shafi had perpetrated similar crimes in other places. “It seems there are no more victims in the couple’s case. However, we need to find out whether Shafi has committed similar crimes,” Nagaraju said.

With inputs from agencies

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Lure of getting rich and two gruesome murders: Chilling details emerge from Kerala ‘human sacrifice’ case
Lure of getting rich and two gruesome murders: Chilling details emerge from Kerala ‘human sacrifice’ case
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