Karnataka MLA blames friend in wife’s death

June 17th, 2008 - 8:46 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) A fresh twist was added Monday to the mysterious death of the wife of Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Raghupathi Bhat after he blamed a friend for “coercing” his wife while at the same time declaring that he “loves her even now”. Bhat’s wife, Padmapriya, 35, was missing for the past five days. She was found dead Sunday in a Delhi apartment. The police suspect it to be a suicide though no suicide note was found.

“Padmapriya’s body was found hanging from the ceiling of a flat in Kshama Apartments in Dwarka Sector 10,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (West Delhi) Shalini Singh told IANS.

Meanwhile, the body was handed over to the family after conducting the autopsy at the Safdarjung Hospital. The report is awaited.

Karnataka Home Minister V.S. Acharya, who was here to attend an official function, said Padmapriya committed suicide after she was kidnapped.

She had hired a flat three days ago for Rs.13,400 a month. She had given two months advance of Rs.26,800 and also purchased a Wagon R on June 12 with the help of a friend.

“It is a suicide. I had gone to the flat after I came to know she was there,” Bhat told reporters here.

“Policemen broke open the door in my presence. I trust her, I love her even now. My friend Atul Rao has somehow coerced her. She is not a woman of that type. I repeat that she is not like that,” he said.

“I had come here to take her back but on reaching here I found her dead.”

Acharya, who said he knew the couple for the past 10 years, said “it was a clear case of suicide”. “We are sad that it happened. They were an affectionate couple and their relationship was very good,” he said.

“I don’t know under what circumstances this happened. Anyway, it looks like she was kidnapped from Udupi and kept here. All this has to be investigated (in Udupi and Delhi),” he said.

Denying Padmapriya’s affair with Atul, her brother Rajashekhar said: “They were happily married and talks about this affair are all lies. It’s not possible that she would have committed suicide. Everything was fine for the past 10 years. She must have been driven to extreme circumstances to have committed suicide.”

The couple have two sons.

The Karnataka police first reported Friday that Padmapriya was missing from Kunjargiri near Udupi, in western Karnataka, since June 11 after her car was found abandoned, with her mobile phone SIM card and some broken bangles.

Udupi is about 70 km from Mangalore on the west coast and about 300 km from Bangalore.

Bhat, 39, was re-elected from the Udupi constituency in the state assembly election last month.

After the Karnataka police got to know that she was in Delhi, a two-member police team was flown in Sunday to trace her with the help of Delhi Police. By the time the teams located her, she had committed suicide.

After the autopsy and completion of formalities in Delhi, police said the body would be handed over to Padmapriya’s family.

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