An additional district and sessions judge (ADJ) in Madhya Pradesh had to pay a heavy price for keeping in contact with an NGO representative, while his wife and family lived away from his place of posting.
ADJ Mahendra Kumar Tripathi (56) resided with his family 175 kilometers south of Bhopal, in Betul. He lived there with his wife Bhagya Tripathi, two sons, the elder one, Abhiyanraj Tripathi (33), and younger one named Ashishraj Tripathi (25). On July 21 night, after having dinner, all of them fell ill at their official residence in Betul.
On July 22, Tripathi and his sons complained of uneasiness and diarrhoea. They took some medicines at home but their condition deteriorated on July 23. All three were admitted to a private hospital in Betul from where Ashishraj was discharged on July 24. While the younger son recovered, condition of the father and elder son worsened, said the police officials. Thereafter, on Saturday, July 25, the judge and his elder son were referred to a private hospital in Nagpur.
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On the same day, the eldest son of the family, Abhiyanraj, was declared brought dead while Judge Tripathi died the next day on Sunday morning.
Additional SP Shraddha Joshi then said,
The doctors, who treated them in Betul, said the deceased might have consumed some poisonous substance through their food. The police have collected the samples of the raw food items including wheat flour and sent it to a laboratory for examination to see if it contained some poisonous substance.
The police are waiting for the post mortem reports from Nagpur. We are also trying to contact the woman, who served snacks to them on July 21 evening.
Wife Bhagya and the two sons moved back to Betul just four months ago. Sandhya Singh who runs an NGO had come in contact with Judge Tripathi during his posting in Chhindwara 10-years-ago. Later, ADJ Tripathi was transferred, where his family shifted four months ago.
When the judge’s family shifted to Betul, 45-year-old Sandhya was not able to meet Tripathi which led to altercations between the two. According to Superintendent of Police Simala Prasad,
Sandhya also had a fight with Tripathi over investing some money.
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When Singh was unable to meet with Tripathi frequently, she decided to eliminate all of them in one go. She gave the family a bag of flour consisting of poison, says the police. SP Prasad further quoted,
Due to continuous altercations, Sandhya decided to kill Tripathi and his whole family. Sandhya told Tripathi 15-days-ago that Ramdayal Baba, the sorcerer from Chhindwara, would end all the problems he was facing in his personal life. On July 20, she gave the wheat flour to Tripathi and said it had a solution to all his problems so he and other members of his family should eat it together.
As soon as the judge and his sons had moved to the hospital, Betul police already started the investigation. The judge told the police, that their condition worsened after they ate chapatis made from the flour (bread) given by the NGO worker Sandhya Singh. Bhagya Tripathi, the judge’s wife did not eat chapatis, and hence, she did not fall ill.
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On July 27, police took sample of the flour for testing which detected poison. On July 29, they arrested Sandhya, along with five others for allegedly killing the judge and his family. Accused woman later confessed to having committed the crime and said Ramdayal had told her that she should mix poison in the flour and nobody would ever come to know about it.
According to police, the woman had planned the murder with a sole motto to eliminate the entire family of the judge. Other accused who were included in her plan were, her driver Sanju Chandrawanshi, Devilal Chandrawanshi, Mubeen Khan, Kamal Singh, and Baba alias Ramdayal, who also claims to be a sorcerer.
All of them have been arrested for the crime and charged under sections 302, 328, 307, and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.