Police in India have arrested three for allegedly murdering two women in a suspected case of human sacrifice. Officers in Kerala, southern India, said the accused “severely tortured” the victims before killing them.
Remains of the women, who were allegedly murdered months apart, were found on Tuesday.
Bhagaval Singh, an ayurvedic “healer”, his wife Laila Singh, and Mohammed Shafi, an “occult practitioner” from Idukki districtl have been arrested.
Officers said the trio have confessed to the crime and an investigation is under way, but the criminals have made no comment on the allegations.
On Wednesday, the Ernakulam magistrate court in Cochin city sent them to judicial custody for three weeks.
Cochin Police Commissioner CH Nagaraju said the murders took place over four months and were suspected to be part of a ritual done for “financial benefits”.
He added that the motive behind the murder was based only on a “preliminary assumption” and that they were investigating based on the confessions.
A police team on Tuesday exhumed the body parts from the couple’s house premises in the presence of the accused.
The bodies were reportedly hacked into pieces before burying and police said scientific analysis and DNA tests would be needed to confirm the victims’ identity.
Police said the “sacrifices” involved dismemberment and torture and it happened within 24 hours after the women went missing.
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According to police, all three accused were believed to be directly involved in the murders and the bodies were buried on the premises of the couple’s house.
Mr Shafi had allegedly taken money from the couple for “arranging” women for the sacrifice.
It is reported he was a truckdriver in the past and had tricked the victims to travel with him to Pathanamthitta offering huge financial benefits for a “job”.
The couple allegedly met Shafi through a Facebook page titled ‘Sreedevi’, where he promised financial gains through rituals.
The amount the couple paid him for the rituals and his offer to victims are still being investigated.