Perambalur/Chennai: A 33-year-old sorcerer and his wife have been taken into custody and a putrid corpse of a woman recovered from their apartment here late Friday evening.
The couple have been conducting black magic rituals with the corpse procured from the burial ground at Mylapore (Chennai) after bribing the staff there, police said.
Karthikeyan, 33, and his wife Deepika aka Nazeema have been living in a rented apartment at MM Nagar at Perambalur for about four years. “We had received anonymous calls a couple of times in the past telling us there were weird black magic rituals going on in that house but we found nothing when we went there.
The alert this time proved right”, said a police officer requesting anonymity.
He said foul smell hit them hard when the police team barged into Karthik’s apartment. They found the highly decomposed body of a young woman wrapped in a cloth upon which large quantity of turmeric and saffron powders was found, besides other signs of some black magic rituals being done.
A thorough search of the place led to the recovery of “more than 20 skulls, some human bones and two large bags stuffed with blood-stained clothes”, besides literature and handwritten papers dealing with black magic rituals, including “communicating with the dead, pilli-soonyam and casting spells on women on behalf of male customers”, another source said, adding that the couple appeared to have earned well from the macabre vocation.
Quizzing Karthikeyan revealed that the body was of a young Chennai woman who had been buried in Mylapore Kailasapuram burial ground after committing suicide by hanging due to prolonged illness. The poor woman has been denied peace even after her traumatic end.
Macabre trade by gravediggers suspected
The arrest of a thanthrik couple in Perambalur with a decomposed body and huge pile of black magic evidence has thrown up a fresh challenge to the Tamil Nadu police—the strong possibility of a macabre network of touts and gravediggers supplying corpses and body parts to evil practitioners of black magic.
The young woman’s corpse, exhumed from a corporation burial ground at Kailasapuram in Mylapore, had been ‘bought’ from a small group of men employed there. Two of them were picked up by the Perambalur police and they reportedly admitted to have dug up the body—it was of a young woman of Teynampet who had hanged herself due to prolonged illness—and loaded it into a vehicle for the drive to the apartment of Karthikeyan-Deepika aka Nazeema in Perambalur.
“It must have been an ambulance as the decomposed body would require a freezer box during the long trip. And that meant there’s a network of such transporters and gravediggers, plus the customers like this thanthrik”, said a senior police officer privy to the investigation of this case.
“Now we will have to keep a close watch on the burial grounds to ensure there is no grave-digging for corpses and body parts. We must also take efforts to ferret out brokers involved in this horrible business. Some crematoriums have CCTV cameras, some others don’t”, he said, regretting that even the dead are robbed of their rest in peace because of human greed for easy money.
The most ‘minor’ crime in this ghoulish trade is the student approaching the grave-keeper for a skull or some bone for his study purpose while cases like Karthik hit at the very foundation of a civilised society.
This correspondent, while acting as Prince of Morocco (Merchant of Venice) during the college days had bought a skull from a grave-keeper, upon a broker’s recommendation, for under Rs 200 in order to ‘infuse life’ in the scene where the Prince displays the skull to Portia and her maid from the Golden Casket. But that was more than a decade ago and the prices now could be much higher, thanks to the inflation and the rising demand.
When contacted, Mylapore DCP V. Balakrishnan said, “We have surveillance cameras to monitor Krishnampet crematorium. We will install cameras at Kailasapuram burial ground as well”. But then, it may require installation of CCTV cameras at all the burial grounds across the state if this ghoulish trade is to be stopped....