Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi (JS)
Udupi, Aug 13: The sensational Bhaskar Shetty murder case has rocked the entire Udupi district, and indeed the coastal Karnataka region, like no other case, at least in the recent past. It has been compared to the Tandoor murder case of Delhi (1995). There is still no clue of the body or its remains, even though police have found some bones in the Palli river. It is a case that has all the elements of a suspense thriller - a failed marriage, love affair, money, property dispute, involvement of an astrlolger, and of course, allegations of police bungling the probe and being 'hand-in-glove' with the accused.
There have been several statements in the media by all and sundry, some contradictory, some plain conjectures, and others, perhaps the truth. In an exclusive interview, daijiworld brings the facts of the case straight from the horse's mouth, that is, from Bhaskar's mother Gulabi Shedthi, who was the first to suspect her daughter-in-law's role in her son's disappearance.
How was the relationship between Bhaskar and his wife Rajeshwari? What do you want to say about the case?
Gulabi: After coming to India from Saudi, he used to come to my house daily but never stayed overnight. He would say whatever he wanted to say and then leave. He never spoke about his wife, and we too did not try to interfere in his matters as we felt problems between husband and wife are common.
Did you stay with the couple in the initial days of their marriage?
Gulabi: He and his wife used to stay in our house. Initially for one year she was with us. Whenever she went to her parental house she used to stay there for two-three days. Within an year of marriage, he took her to Saudi. They were together in Saudi for 10-15 years but every year they used to come to our house and stay and then return to Saudi. They then rented a house in Kinnimulki for four or five years and thereafter built Hotel Durga International there.
Why do you think they built a house here even though they had such a big business in Saudi? Was it for their child?
Gulabi: When Rajeshwari was pregnant she came here and was here for quite sometime even after the delivery and later went to Dubai. The boy (Navaneeth) studied till fourth standard in Saudi and then came back to India. As Rajeshwari said she was not comfortable there, my son built a house here. After that the mother and the son lived here, and Bhaskar used to visit them for a month or two and then go back.
Whenever they came to our house she used to be good with all. I would hardly ever go to their house but this was because we had a lot of work at home and paddy fields to manage. My husband and I were the only ones staying in the house as our children are settled abroad and other places.
Did Bhaskar Shetty ever ask you to stay with him and his wife?
Gulabi: Actually it was her problem. She wanted chicken and fish every other day and we used to prefer vegetables and rasam. We never cook non-veg as we have a temple. We have been vegetarians for about 30-40 years. But neither of them openly spoke about living separately.
There are rumours that Bhaskar Shetty wanted to divorce his wife and they were not on good terms. Did you have any information in this regard?
Gulabi: No. He never told these things to me. I do not know about it.
How many children do you have?
Gulabi: I have seven children and Bhaskar was the second one. First is a daughter. Three of my children live in Saudi, among whom was Bhaskar. The rest are daughters and stay with their husbands. Bhaskar was friendly and shared a good relationship with every sibling.
He never confided any of his problems in me. A day prior to his disappearance, that is on Wednesday (July 27), he called me up and said that he would be coming to my house on Thursday (July 28). I was waiting for his arrival but he never came. I told my grandchild (not Navaneeth) to call Bhaskar on his mobile phone but it was switched off. I also asked my son-in-law to enquire. Then I came to know that Bhaskar's son had hit him, kicked him and caused him injures at Hotel Durga. He was also beaten up at home later after the house door was broken open.
Why do you think he went home even after his son beat him?
Gulabi: Even I told him not to go and that his wife was a bad person. He said that he would go to the hotel but instead he went to the house.
A few say that he was about to write his assets and properties in your name. Did he tell this to you?
Gulabi: He never told me about it. We did not know what was in his mind. On Thursday (July 28) he did not come to our home and hence I called the relatives.
You filed a police complaint but did you call your daughter-in-law Rajeshwari? Or did she enquire about him with you?
Gulabi: Neither of us called up each other. I told my son-in-law to check if his car was at his house or at the hotel. But his car was not there at the hotel. When my son-in-law decided to check at his home with the hotel manager, he saw Rajeshwari bringing Bhaskar's car while the son was driving her car and going towards a store room. Suspecting that something was wrong, or that we might be in some trouble, my son-in-law called my grandchild and asked him to bring me so that we could file a complaint and take the police with us to her (Rajeshwari's) house. So after we filed the complaint the police took us to the house. They checked everything and went to the first floor. I couldn't go with them as I could not climb the stairs. They said he was not there and after that Rajeshwari left the place.
Wasn't there a driver for Bhaskar Shetty's car?
Gulabi: He used to drive his car himself and go alone wherever he had to go.
When he was physically assaulted the first time, did he not complain to the police or get a bodyguard?
Gulabi: They say he had given a complaint to someone in the taluk office. I do not know the name exactly but he did it for protecting himself. I came to know about this only after his death through someone.
What action did the police take after filing the complaint?
Gulabi: Police enquired them (Rajeshwari and Navaneeth) but I do not know what the police asked and what they said. And it seems she said Bhaskar never told her where he used to go. Police told me this. She did not speak to me even after this incident. In his house, along with the mother and the son, I have also seen that astrologer (Niranjan Bhat) and other people. There were his sandals and his car. How could he disappear all of a sudden? He went home at 3 pm on the day of the murder.
Did he speak to you before going home that day?
Gulabi: No. But he told me he would come to my house soon. And that he would go to Hotel Durga as she never cooked.
Bhaskar's brother-in-law has claimed that Navaneeth was a test tube baby. Is it so?
Gulabi: The person (Jogu Shetty) who said Navaneeth was not his son must have said it out of shock at losing his brother-in-law as they were very close. I ask your pardon on his behalf. It is false.
Rajeshwari, Navaneeth and Niranjan have admitted that they killed Bhaskar Shetty. Also, there is news that a few members of the family too colluded with them. What do you have to say about this?
Gulabi: The other persons could be her relatives but we cannot say it with certainty. She alone with two others cannot chain him after spraying chilly powder and drowning him in the tub as he weighed 75 kg. There must be a few more people involved. He was a perfectly fit man. I want my son back and not his wealth. If they have killed him I want to know the motive for the murder.
Are you happy with the investigation so far?
Gulabi: They (police) are saying they have recovered bones but they are smashed. The question is, is it possible that bones of a person weighing 75 kg not be recovered? I cannot say this. My only wish is that these people are punished. We have been trying hard only to get justice. We are in a confused state right now and we are in a situation where we cannot come to any conclusion to about conducting the necessary rituals also.
District in-charge minister Pramod Madhwaraj has given assurances and the Bunt community is also standing by you. Finally, what do you want to urge the police department and the judiciary?
Gulabi: We urge the police department and the media to give us justice and that is the only request I have.
What will be your next step, if you do not get justice now?
Gulabi: We have been trying hard to get justice, that is our only request. This kind of tragedy should not happen to anyone, that is my only wish.
Watch video : Gulabi Shedthy speaks to daijiworld tv (Exclusive) :
On the Murder Trail:
- Udupi: Rajeshwari, Navaneeth produced in court, police custody extended till Aug 16
- Udupi: Navaneeth was test tube baby, claims kin; another relative denies
- Udupi: Ear stud removed from Niranjan's intestine, police custody soon
- Udupi: Bhaskar murder 'rarest of rare', says lawyer, accuses cops of botching up probe
- Udupi: Niranjan's father produced in court, cops try to evade media in vain
- Udupi: Investigation into Bhaskar Shetty murder case gains momentum
- Udupi: Will ask home minister to depute SP Annamalai in Bhaskar case: Madhwaraj
- Udupi: Bhaskar murder - Police arrest Niranjan's father; find bones in Palli river
- Udupi: Will he, won't he? Hegde says no decision yet on representing Rajeshwari
- Udupi: Opposites attract? Rajeshwari-Niranjan - Dissimilar traits, similar fates
- Udupi : Slow progress in Bhaskar Shetty murder - Investigation officer replaced ?
- Udupi: Bhaskar's kin urge fair probe, Bunt community flays lawyer Ratnakar Hegde
- Udupi: Niranjan Bhat attempts suicide in Manipal police station
- Udupi: Stony-faced and stylish, slain Bhaskar's wife, son baffle onlookers
- Udupi: Bhaskar Shetty murder - Son Navaneeth was fond of crime serials
- Udupi: Bhaskar Shetty murder - Niranjan Bhat arrested, taken to Nandalike
- Udupi : Niranjan Bhat's love for luxurious life and Bhaskar Shetty murder case
- Udupi: Bhaskar Shetty murder - As cops hunt for Niranjan Bhat, wife's affair angle emerges
- Udupi: Missing hotelier Bhaskar Shetty murdered, body burnt to ashes
- Udupi: Hotelier Bhaskar Shetty goes missing, mother says kidnapped