The Inside Story
It turned out a man set ablaze his father-in-law who was demanding money

The cops at Kodihalli police station had just sunk into their chairs after hectic patrolling when the phone started ringing. A constable took the call, and as everyone looked at him, his expression became grim. He told his colleagues, "There is a halfburnt body in the forest area."
That marked the beginning of a challenging crime case for the cops attached to Kodihalli police station (on the outskirts of Bengaluru) in neighbouring Ramanagaram district. The macabre news came as a shock for the Kodihalli cops, who otherwise usually deal with trivial fights between villagers. A team led by sub-inspector Deepak Gowda arrived around 7:30 pm on December 15 at the spot in Talli forest where the charred body was found by a few forest guards who were on patrol.
Gowda said: "We found that the body was burnt beyond recognition. It seemed like a well-planned murder and the accused had tried to ensure that all possible evidence would be destroyed.We scanned the area for clues, but did not get any that could help us establish the identity of the victim. However, we found a partially burnt laminated card when we were going through the heap of ash.The details on the card were not visible as the plastic had melted and the paper inside was charred. We put the card into the container and took it for examination."

The cops sprayed a chemical (they refused to name it) on the card and the imprint became partially visible. Gowda said: "It was a voter identity card. We searched for the number on the Election Commission website to get details of the victim, and identified him as 56-year-old Gangireddy, marriage-broker from Gauribidanur in the state."

When the cops contacted his family, they learnt that he had been missing for the past two days. But the question was, who killed him? The cops took the mobile number of Gangireddy from his family members and started analysing his call-data records from the day he went missing. And the needle of suspicion pointed to Gangireddy's son-in-law Vijayendra as the last four calls were from him and he also did not attend the funeral. Four days later, the cops picked up Vijayendra and he spilled the beans.

Vijayendra, a farmer, had married Gangireddi's eldest daughter Hema and the couple was staying near Ramanagaram. Police said the couple had a fight and Hema had returned to her parents' house in Gauribidanur some time ago. Vijayendra had made several attempts to convince her to return home, but in vain. He knocked on the doors of his father-in-law Gangireddy and urged him to direct Hema to return home.But Gangireddy gave him a shock by demanding money to facilitate Hema's return.Both Gangireddy and Vijayendra continued to haggle over the issue. As Vijayendra's desperation increased, Gangireddy's demand too intensified, police said.

Burnt with diesel On realising that Gangireddy had not kept the other family members in the loop about his demand for money, Vijayendra laid a trap, police said. On the pretext of making the payment, Vijayendra told Gangireddy to come near the Talli forest and wait at a designated spot. While Gangireddy was on his way Vijayendra bought 10 litres of diesel from a nearby petrol bunk. When Gangireddy came, Vijayendra reportedly hit him on the head twice and the former fell unconscious.He set Gangireddy on fire, threw the diesel can in another part of the forest and fled the scene, thinking that he would never be caught, police said. Vijayendra told the police that committed the crime as he was being mentally tortured by his father-in-law.

Said Gowda, "Had it not been for the burnt identity card it would have been a difficult murder mystery to solve."

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