CHENNAI: Sixteen days after the severed limbs of a woman were found in a garbage truck, the city police have identified the deceased as the wife of a small-time cinema producer cum director. She is alleged to have been murdered by her husband who then chopped her body into parts and disposed it at various places across the city.
The deceased, Sandhya (35) was married to Balakrishnan (51) and the couple had two children. They lived in Jafferkhanpet in the city. Police say the couple had several issues in their relationship. In November 2018, Sandhya had approached an All-Woman Police Station in Thoothukudi to file a domestic violence complaint against her husband.
She was counselled by the police officials at the station. However, she had submitted a letter saying she wanted a divorce and that she would leave her children in the custody of Balakrishnan’s brother in Thoothukudi.
Sandhya, herself, was a native of Nagercoil. Later, the couple decided to bury the hatchet and Sandhya returned to Chennai to live with her husband. However, it ended in her murder.
However, an argument broke out again on January 19. “In a fit of rage, Balakrishnan hit his wife in the head with a sharp object, leading to her death,” a police officer privy to the case details told Express. “Then, he chopped off her limbs and stuffed them into a plastic bag. He then disposed the body parts the next day in various dustbins across MGR Nagar area and some in the Cooum River.” On January 21, he returned to work as usual to avoid any suspicion.
Incident comes to light
Balakrishnan told Sandhya’s mother that she had left for Thoothukudi on January 19. But since Sandhya was not answering her mobile phone and there was no information about her whereabouts, her mother filed a missing complaint in Thoothukudi on Monday. Meanwhile, Pallikaranai police simultaneously began probing the case after body parts were found on January 21.
Since they had no clue to work with, they had sought information from the public in Chennai and neighbouring areas. They got their first breakthrough when they found out that Sandhya was also missing from the same period. Also, upon investigation, police found that the garbage truck concerned had collected waste from the Kodambakkam and MGR Nagar areas.
This helped them zero in on Balakrishnan as the prime suspect. A few more body parts were recovered on Wednesday based on the information given by Balakrishnan.
Reason for the murder
Sources say Balakrishnan was the Thoothukudi district president of PMK between 2004 and 2006. By 2010, he moved to the film industry. Sandhya, meanwhile, unsuccessfully contested in the civic polls from ward-40 of Thoothukudi in 2006. Balakrishnan’s first movie Kadhal Ilavasam was released in 2012. It was a major failure.
The couple kept having issues, say sources. Sandhya wanted to try her hand at acting and Balakrishnan had promised to help. However, he picked up constant fights with her and suspected her fidelity. Sources claim Sandhya was forced to tonsure her head three years ago following fights over “her character”.
When Balakrishnan was called to the all-women police station in Thoothukudi following Sandhya’s complaint, he is understood to have reported that his wife was in an extra-marital affair. Sandhya’s relatives, however, allege Balakrishnan always ill-treated his wife. “We married her off to him despite an age difference of 20 years between them,” says Sandhya’s relative Radha.
“Balakrishnan’s family assured Sandhya that he was going to direct his own movie and asked for money. Sandhya’s parents sold some land they had in Kanniyakumari and gave him `75,000.” says Radha. The family has demanded a detailed investigation. (with inputs from Thoothukudi and Nagercoil)