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AI Startup CEO Killed Child Over Custody Battle, Had Attempted Suicide, Say Cops

Suchana Seth has been sent to six days of police custody for allegedly killing her son.

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Video Producer: Mayank Chawla

Video Editor: Kriti Saxena

(Trigger Warning: Mentions of violence, suicide. Reader discretion advised.)

Suchana Seth, the 39-year-old AI startup CEO based in Bengaluru, reportedly attempted suicide by cutting her wrist using a sharp object after allegedly killing her four-year-old son at a service apartment in North Goa's Candolim, a Goa Police official confirmed to The Quint on the condition of anonymity.

Seth, a native of West Bengal who was settled in Bengaluru, reportedly killed the child over a custody battle with her husband Venkataraman, who hails from Kerala. North Goa Superintendent of Police Nidhin Valsan said on Tuesday, 9 January, that the couple has been living separately and that "their divorce proceedings are almost finalised."

Venkataraman, who was in Jakarta, Indonesia, was informed about the incident, and is back in the country. He works as a data scientist.

Sources told news agency IANS that Seth reportedly committed the crime to deny her husband visitation rights to see their son every week, as granted by a family court in a recent order.

The CEO of Mindful AI Labs, Seth was arrested in Karnataka's Chitradurga while she was fleeing with the body of her son in a taxi, as per Calangute Police. She has been sent to six days of police custody by a local court in Goa.

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'Child Died by Strangulation': Postmortem Report

The Goa Police official also said that the child died by strangulation.

Speaking to reporters, Dr Kumar Naik, who conducted the child's postmortem examination at a hospital in Chitradurga, said that a pillow or a wire must have been used to strangle him, as there were no wounds or signs of struggle.

"The child has been smothered or strangulated. There are no wounds or signs of struggle. He could have probably died after being suffocated by a pillow or some other object. The child doesn't seem like he was killed by strangulation using hands. The killing took place over 36 hours ago. His face and chest are swollen due to suffocation. And the child's nose was bleeding."
Dr Kumar Naik, as per The News Minute

Seth checked into a service apartment in Candolim on Saturday, 6 January, and stayed there till Monday, 8 January, Calangute Police had told The Quint.

"When she was checking out on 8 January, her son was not seen with her. She told the hotel management that she wanted a taxi back to Bengaluru. The staff told her it would be cheaper to book a flight back, but she insisted on getting a taxi," the police said.

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After she left in the cab, the hotel staff went to her room to clean – and they found bloodstains in the bathroom, the police said.

"The hotel staff informed us about this, and we contacted the driver who was taking her to Bengaluru. We asked the driver to give the phone to her. When we asked her where her son was, she said that he was at a friend's house in Goa and that she would come back to pick him up."
Calangute Police

However, the address of the 'friend' that she gave the police turned out to be fake.

The Calangute Police then told the taxi driver to take her to the nearest police station in Karnataka's Chitradurga. When the police checked her luggage, her son's body was found in one of the two bags she was carrying.

Domestic Violence Case

Seth and her husband Venkataraman got married in 2010 and had their son in 2019, as per reports. The couple had been living apart since 2021, and in August 2022, she filed a domestic violence case against him, according to a report by The Indian Express. The case was registered during the couple's divorce proceedings in a family court.

Though her husband denied these charges, the court had initially ordered Venkataraman not to contact their son or enter Suchana's house. More recently, he was given visitation rights.

In the domestic violence complaint, Seth alleged that she had separated from her husband over fear of violence, and also accused him of failing to take care of her during the birth of their son, the IE report said.

Seth had sought Rs 2.5 lakh per month as alimony, as her husband's annual income was over Rs 1 crore.

As per IE, she submitted copies of WhatsApp messages, photographs, and medical records to the family court to back her allegations of domestic violence. The case was last heard on 12 December 2023, and the next hearing was scheduled for the end of January 2024.

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Topics:  Bengaluru   Goa   Crime 

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