A 39-year-old man, arrested for the murder of four members of a family in Karnataka’s Udupi, has confessed to the crime, police said on Wednesday.
Praveen Arun Chougale, a resident of Sangli in Maharashtra, was arrested from Rayabhaga in Belagavi district on Tuesday. He has been remanded in 14-day police custody by the Udupi First Class Judicial Magistrate.
The shocking incident took place in the wee hours of Sunday when Haseena (46) and their children Afnan (23), Ainaz (21) and Aseem (12) were found dead at their house in Tripti Layout of Nejar.
Haseena’s mother-in-law, Hajira, 70, who was found critically injured inside the bathroom of the house, is undergoing treatment in a hospital.
According to local media reports, Haseena’s husband Mohammed Noor is working abroad.
Udupi Superintendent of Police K. Arun said the accused has confessed to have committed the four murders though the weapon used in the crime is yet to be ascertained.
Going by the statement of the accused, the crime was pre-planned, he told reporters.
During the interrogation, Praveen reportedly told police that his intention was to kill only Ainaz and that the other members of the family were attacked when they tried to prevent him.
Praveen, a married man with two children, was a cabin crew member of Air India Express based at Mangaluru airport where Ainaz was his co-worker.
The accused had a deep personal connection with Ainaz and it is suspected that unrequited love could be one of the reasons behind the brutal murder.
However, the investigators are yet to get any clue about the 'intimate' relationship between Praveen and the young air hostess.
The police are also probing the alleged financial transactions between the accused and the victim.
Praveen had told police that friendship, love for Ainaz and money matters led him to commit the dastardly crime, reported IANS.
The investigators are yet to confirm his claims of having worked with the Maharashtra police for some time before joining Air India Express. They are also verifying his criminal history and whether he committed the crime under the influence of narcotic drugs.
“The preliminary investigations suggest the accused was an over-possessive person and the murder was triggered by jealousy and animosity in this regard,” the Indian Express quoted a police source as saying.
Police had formed five teams to crack the case and collected details from the victims’ neighbours and also examined the CCTV footage in the area.
They tracked Praveen based on technical data including cell phone location and call data records. He was arrested from one of his relatives’ house in a joint operation by Udupi district police and Belagavi police.
The investigators had also analysed Ainaz's phone records and chats.