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The Inside Story
MADURAI: More than 13 years after her 'murder' -- for which two men were arrested -- Mekala alias Punitha returned in full flesh and blood, and appeared before a judge in the Madurai bench of the Madras high court. Justice S Nagamuthu rapped police for faulty investigation and asked them to conduct DNA analysis on the woman and her father to establish her 'identity' beyond doubt.

The case dates back to 2002. The Murappanadu police in Tuticorin district registered a case saying a woman, who went missing from Srivaikundam on March 6, 2002, was killed on April 5, 2002. They even arrested two men -- Kovilpillai and Balasubramanian -- in connection with the 'murder'.

But now it emerges that Punitha's mother had left her father, who was living at Perur in Tuticorin, many years ago and remarried a man in Tirupur. She died years later. Punitha too married a man in Tirupur, left him and went to Chennai. In Chennai, she married a Muslim man and gave birth to two children.

In 2011, when she returned to her native village to visit her relatives, some villagers informed her about the police case relating to her 'murder'. Following this, she approached the collector and the superintendent of police and told them that nobody had killed her. However, the officials failed to ascertain truth behind her claims and act upon it.

The matter reached the high court after the two persons slapped with the murder charge approached the court seeking action against the policemen who had foisted the case on them. When the case came up for hearing last week, Justice Nagamuthu directed police to produce the woman in court.

Accordingly, police produced Punitha before the judge on Monday and the woman narrated her tale in court. After she said her father Muthu is living in Tuticorin, the judge directed the Tuticorin superintendent of police Aswin M Kotnis, who was present in the court, to conduct further inquiries.

The judge asked the SP to take the woman and her father for a DNA analysis to ascertain the truth beyond doubt. Expressing displeasure at police conduct and investigation, he said police had not inquired relevant people including the 'murdered' woman's father and former husband.

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13 Years After She was 'Murdered', Madurai Woman Proves She is Alive

MADURAI, TAMIL NADU: In 2011, nine years after her supposed murder, Mekala had appeared before government officials in Madurai, in a dramatic twist to the case. Since then it has taken her four years and a DNA report to convince the world about her existence.

The woman from Tamil Nadu has managed to convince the High Court that she is indeed still alive rather than having been murdered in 2002. The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has accepted a DNA report that endorses Mekala's claim.

On July 6 last, Justice S Nagamuthu had ordered Mekala and her father to undergo the DNA test, which confirmed the woman's claim that she was alive and she had not been murdered. The tests were conducted on Mekala and her father Muthu.

The Judge also set aside an order of a Tuticorin district court which had concluded that the Mekala, had been murdered, though all four accused were acquitted.

The Court refused to take criminal action against the police personnel who wrongly declared the woman dead, saying that their finding was based on superimposition results and they could not be blamed for the same.

The state government has also been ordered by the Court to give a compensation of Rs. 4 lakh each to four persons arrested in connection with the case. They were detained in prison for 93 days.

The matter came to the Court when two persons, arrested in connection with the 'murder', sought compensation for malicious prosecution and registration of criminal cases against the concerned police personnel.

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