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'She Neither Spoke Nor Slept': Cab Driver Who Helped Goa Police Nab Suchana Seth

The Goa Police arrested 39-year-old Seth for allegedly murdering her four-year-old son at a service apartment.

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Producer :Divya Uppal

Video Editors: Purnendu Pritam, Abhishek Sharma

From speaking to the police in Konkani to taking a washroom break to buy more time to find the nearest police station and trying not to raise any suspicion – 33-year-old Royjohn D'Souza's presence of mind was crucial in helping the Goa Police nab Suchana Seth, who has been accused of killing her four-year-old son.

D'Souza, a Goa-based cab driver who was ferrying Seth – the CEO of an AI startup – to Bengaluru on the intervening night of 7 and 8 January, tells The Quint over the phone on Friday, 12 January:

"In the trip that lasted more than 10 hours, Suchana was extremely calm, and she did not utter a single word. I had to ensure that I took her to the police station without making her suspicious."

Earlier this week, the Calangute Police arrested 39-year-old Seth for allegedly murdering her child at a service apartment in Candolim, North Goa. She was arrested in Karnataka's Chitradurga district while allegedly trying to flee with her son's body stuffed in a bag.

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'Bag Was Unusually Heavy, It Was Difficult To Carry': Cab Driver

At around 11 pm on 7 January, D'Souza received a call from the reception of Hotel Sol Banyan Grande in Candolim, where Seth was residing.

"They asked me to arrange a cab for her on an urgent basis. Since it was a long journey, my co-driver and I asked for Rs 30,000, which she agreed to pay. We reached the hotel at 12:30 am," he said.

D'Souza told The Quint that Seth was travelling with a red trolley bag, which he described as being "unusually heavy."

"She asked me to get her bag from the reception. I was unable to carry it as it was very heavy, so I pulled it till the car. The first thing I asked her was whether she was carrying alcohol, because the bag was unusually heavy. She said, 'No, it is just my work items.' I even asked if she could remove some belongings to make the bag lighter, but she refused. I took the help of my co-driver to keep the bag in the boot of the car. I didn't think much about it then."
Royjohn D'Souza
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According to the driver, the cab left from Candolim at around 12:45 am. However, they got stuck at the Goa-Karnataka border at 2 am as a truck had overturned, causing major traffic jam, he said.

D'Souza said that he told Seth they could be stuck in the jam for "six hours" – and asked if he could drop her to the airport instead.

"I exaggerated and told her that we would be stuck for six hours. Since I was told she wanted to reach on an urgent basis, I asked her if I could drop her to the airport using an alternate route. But she said she wanted to go only by road. I found that extremely strange," D'Souza said.
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'She Was Calm, Did Not Sleep, Did Not Speak'

D'Souza told The Quint that Seth was "extremely calm" throughout the journey and did not "speak a word," apart from asking him if he wanted water.

"She barely slept in the 10-hour journey and was looking out of the window," he claimed.

At around 10:45 am, the taxi driver received a call from the Goa Police, alerting him that there was something suspicious about the passenger.

"The Calangute Police called and asked me how many passengers were in the car. They asked if there was a child accompanying her, and I said no. The police then told me that the hotel had informed them about Suchana and her son, and they had a suspicion about her as they had found bloodstains in the room. I gave the phone to Suchana, who spoke to them for about four minutes and cut the call."

However, D'Souza recounted that Seth was calm even after the phone call – and she "did not seem to panic."

Twenty minutes later, at around 11:10 am, D'Souza told The Quint that the police had contacted him again, this time speaking in their local language Konkani.

"The police called me again and asked me to immediately find a police station or a patrol vehicle. I communicated the same to my co-driver. We immediately tried searching on Google Maps and GPS, but didn't find anything. All the signboards were in Kannada, so I didn't know where to go. We knew we had to find one because Bengaluru was only 180 km away," he said.

D'Souza said he stopped by a roadside restaurant and told Seth that they wanted to stop to use the restroom.

"We remained calm throughout as we knew that we could not let her get suspicious of us. Once we stopped, I asked the locals about a police station. Thankfully, it was only 500 metres away," he said.

"I then drove to the Aiyamangala police station (in Karnataka's Chitradurga) and stopped the car. I drove to the station while I was on call with the police. When we entered the station, Suchana asked me why, and I told her that I was asked to stop. It took 15 minutes before an inspector came out. Till then she was sitting in the car in silence."
RoyJohn D'Souza

According to the taxi driver, the police searched the entire car and found the child's body inside her red bag.

"When the police asked her whether it was her son, she said 'yes'. She did not show any emotion when the police were questioning her," he told The Quint.
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Note Written With Eyeliner Found in Bag: Reports

The Goa Police has recovered a handwritten "note," allegedly written by Seth on a tissue paper using eyeliner, which could be "crucial evidence" in the investigation, several reports said.

Police officials told Hindustan Times that the note could help ascertain Seth's mental state and motivations.

Earlier, police officials told The Quint that Seth had allegedly committed the crime to due to strained relations with her estranged husband Venkataraman and a custody battle for their son.

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 had been fighting for the custody of their son. Recently, a Bengaluru court gave her husband visitation rights as well.

"The note indicates that the accused didn't want her son to go with the father and offers insights into her state of mind," a police official told HT.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Bengaluru   Goa   Crime 

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