Sharon Raj (23), who died under mysterious circumstances on 25 October, is found to have been poisoned by his girlfriend in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, since he was unwilling to end the relationship.
In the past week, the case has seen several twists including a suicide attempt and superstitions.
The Fateful Day
Sharon Raj, a radiology student, died due to organ failure after allegedly consuming drinks offered by his girlfriend. A resident of Parassala in Thiruvananthapuram, he visited 22-year-old Greeshma at her house in Ramavarmanchirai of Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari, on 14 October.
Rejin, Sharon’s friend who was with him, told reporters, “While I waited outside her house, he came out vomiting. On our way back, he kept vomiting and it was blue in colour.” Sharon was admitted to Parassala Government Hospital the same day, later moving to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital. As his blood tests were normal, he returned home.
The Last Days
In the next few days, his health deteriorated and on 17 October he was re-admitted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. Several rounds of dialysis were performed and his lungs were found to be severely damaged. Doctors noted that he had consumed an acidic substance which had caused this. On 25 October, he died due to cardiac arrest caused by organ failure.
Relationship Status... the Point of Friction
Sharon was a final-year BSc Radiology student at a private college at Neyyoor in Kanyakumari district. Greeshma was a post-graduate Literature student. The two met on a bus journey and had been in a relationship for over a year, Sharon’s family alleged. However, her family was against their relationship.
In February 2022, Greeshma wanted to end the relationship as her marriage had been fixed with another man, said the police. Sharon was reportedly not willing to break up.
Sharon’s dying declaration was recorded in front of a Magistrate on 21 October. Intriguingly, he refused to accuse her and said that no one had poisoned him. He said that Greeshma had given him the leftover of a kashayam (an Ayurvedic concoction) that she had also consumed. The two then drank mango juice as part of a social media trend. But he clarified that he did not see her drink the concoction.
Days after his mysterious death, Greeshma confessed to the crime.
Initially, while speaking to Sharon’s father Jayaraj, Greeshma reportedly denied any foul play. But after eight hours of questioning, she confessed to the crime. On 30 October, ADGP (Law and Order) MR Ajith Kumar told media that she had confessed that she had murdered Sharon to get out of their relationship. She said she had laced the concoction with pesticide.
Key Evidence Recovered
The police have recovered a 'Kapiq' pesticide bottle, she is suspected to have used for the murder. The police also found that she had searched on Google about poisoning, before the incident.
Police found the bottle at a nearby pond during evidence collection. The bottle label was also found near the steps of Greeshma's house. They also recovered four drinking water bottles from a cowshed at her home that contained green and blue liquids. The nature and chemical composition of the liquids is yet to be ascertained. Evidence collection was also done at the shop which sold the pesticide.
Alleged Lapses in Investigation?
On 30 October, following allegations that there were lapses in the investigation process, the Crime Branch took over the case. The victim’s relatives had alleged that the police did not even take their statements until days after the incident.
The Parassala circle inspector rejected these allegations. He claimed that Sharon’s family had not approached police until seven days after Sharon fell sick. The police heard about the case only from the hospital. The family had also not shared any suspicion in the case, he alleged.
Greeshma has claimed that she plotted the crime alone, but the police have their doubts. Investigation revealed that her uncle Nirmal Kumar had thrown the pesticide bottle away. The Crime branch police arrested her mother and uncle on 2 November for destroying evidence.
Murder Due to Superstition?
Sharon’s brother Shimon Raj, who is an Ayurveda practitioner, told reporters that there was a possibility that Sharon was being slow-poisoned for a while. He alleged that she was reluctant to reveal the name of the concoction she gave him, and had sent an image downloaded from the internet when he had pestered her.
Jayaraj told media that since her horoscope had predicted that her first husband will die, they suspected that the woman might have killed Sharon, hoping it would allow her to lead a happy family life. The couple had tied the knot secretly, he alleged.
Greeshma in her confession rejected the allegations about her marriage with Sharon.
The police chief brushed aside the conspiracy theory stating this was a story made up by Greeshma to make Sharon break up with her. “As of now, we haven’t received any evidence to prove that she was slow-poisoning him. They were in a relationship. But ever since her marriage was fixed, she had been continuously trying to leave him,” he said.
The case took yet another shocking turn when Greeshma, attempted suicide inside the Nedumangad police station by drinking floor cleaner liquid on 31 October.
Police told media that her condition is stable and her arrest will be recorded after informing the magistrate. Thiruvananthapuram Rural Superintendent of Police (SP) D Shilpa said on Monday that action will be taken against the two police officers who were on duty at the time of the incident.
Police added one more case of attempted suicide on Greeshma on Tuesday.