The Inside Story

Serial killer Mallika's death sentence reduced to life
August 2, 2012

The Karnataka High Court today reduced the death sentence awarded to a woman serial killer by a fast track court to life imprisonment.

A division bench headed by Justice DV Shylendra Kumar reduced the sentence on a criminal appeal filed by Mallika challenging the order awarded by the court at Tumkur on March 24, 2009.

It is a normal practice that any death sentence would have to be confirmed by the high court. The court also imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 on Mallika and in case of default, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year.

Observing that though there was circumstantial evidence, there was no direct proof against her and though she had committed murders for gain, it does not come under the category of "rarest of rare cases to be accorded death sentence", the court modifying the order.

Mallika, who had several aliases such as Lakshmi, Jayamma, Savithramma, Shivamogga Kempamma was awarded death penalty for murdering an elderly women. 47-year-old Mallika poisoned six women to death in the past decade. She used to loiter around temples and pick up her victims from among female devotees.

She was arrested by Bangalore city police on December 31, 2007 on a tip off. She revealed startling details of the murders she had committed during questioning.

Out of the five murders, including one committed in Tamil Nadu, four were registered as mysterious.

The modus operandi of Mallika was that she used to pose herself as a pious lady, well acquainted with religious rituals. She used to befriend women devotees, belonging to rich family background who were frequenting the temples. She would gain their confidence by recommending rituals to overcome their bad times. She would say that a particular ritual should be done by her at a temple. The venue was chosen with care to ensure that it was far from the victim's place. She then would mix cyanide in their food and then decamp with their valuables.

Karnataka woman ‘serial killer’ sentenced to death
April 1, 2012

A 47-year-old woman who admitted to killing and robbing six women between 1999 and 2007 around temples in Karnataka has been sentenced to death for the last of her murders, carried out on December 15, 2007. This was the second case in which she was found guilty and convicted.

The woman, identified only as Mallika, was arrested in December 2007 in the course of investigations into the murder of a childless woman, Nagaveni, who was found to have been lured with the promise of pujas for fertility and later killed by cyanide poisoning.

Mallika, who had cut ties with her family, reportedly told the police during interrogation that she was involved in other similar killings.

Police had described Mallika, who worked as a domestic help at several places on the outskirts of Bangalore, as a habitual thief who started killing for valuables.

She told the authorities she acted alone. During the trial, the police ruled out any psychopathic tendencies on her part and attributed the murders to robbery.

Her modus operandi allegedly involved targeting women who looked vulnerable at temple complexes around Bangalore, befriending them and then killing and robbing them.

Police said that Mallika had access to a small stash of cyanide which she had obtained while working as a help for a goldsmith, which she allegedly used to poison her victims.

India's First Female Serial Killer Cyanide Mallika Gets Death Sentence
March 31, 2012

The 1st Additional Rural Court, Bangalore, on Friday awarded the death sentence to the country's first and only woman serial killer, Mallika alias Cyanide Malllika alias K D Kempamma alias Yashodama, 45, for the murder of a housewife Nagaveni in Doddaballapur on December 18, 2007.The housewife was found dead in the premises of a temple in Doddaballapur. She was a resident of Allalasandra, near Yelahanka New Town.

Malllika had managed to befriend Nagaveni, who was childless. The victim visited various temples to pray for a child.

Mallika told Nagaveni that she would perform a special puja to help her realize her desire.

She took her to a temple in Doddaballapur in the early hours of that day, and in the guise of giving her holy water, gave her water laced with cyanide. Nagaveni drank it and died instantly. Later, the accused removed the victim's gold ornaments and escaped.

In 2010, a Tumkur court had awarded her the death sentence for the murder of Muniyamma, in Yediyur Siddalingeshwara temple in Kunigal taluk.

Cyanide Mallika poisoned six women to death across the city till her arrest in 2007. This is her second conviction in the last three years.

She had allegedly poisoned six women with cyanide, bought from a gold polishing shop, over a eight year period till she was arrested in 2007.

Mallika had deserted her family a decade ago.

Serial killer Kempamma murdered 7
January 26, 2008

BANGALORE: The number of persons killed by accused serial killer, K D Kempamma alias Cyanide Mallika, has gone up to seven.

The city and Chintamani police have solved a missing person's case, and traced it to Kempamma.

Shankar had filed a complaint at Mico Layout police station on December 29, 2006, that his wife Renuka (23) was missing since December 7, 2006. He said he was on a tour to Dubai when Renuka went missing. In the same month, Chintamani police registered a case after they found a woman's body at the Kaiwara Yogi Narayan Ashram guest house, Kolar.

The case was closed as there were no leads. After seeing Renuka's photograph in recent media reports, Chintamani police informed their city counterparts. The guest house authorities have recognized Kempamma, who was registered there as Jayamma.

Woman serial killer caught by Bangalore cops
January 2, 2008

After Dandu Palya and several other serial killers now it is the time of the women serial killers in the city. The Kalasipalya police in the city have caught Mallika (43) who has allegedly killed six women from lower middle-class families by poisoning them with cyanide and robbed them their of gold jewellery during the last two years.

Mallika known as a silent killer lured the middle class women from their houses on the pretext of giving them solace from their problems with the divine way took them to isolated temples to conduct poojas and poisoned them with Cynide and killed them. Later she poached their gold ornaments and left their bodies in a corner of the temple for their families to pick up.

According to city police commissioner Neelam Achyut Rao, Mallika had been wanted in at least six cases till now in various districts including Bangalore Rural, Ramanagara, Tumkur and Mandya. Mallika has several aliases that she has been using in executing the crime, namely Kempamma, Jayamma, Lakshmi, and Savitramma. According to the police she is also the first woman serial killer in the country. In all the cases the husbands or any of the family members did not know about the victims going with her.

She made the first killing in 1999 and her first victim was Mamatha of Hoskote. Her latest victim was 30 year old Nagaveni of Bangalore who was killed on Dec 18, 2007.

She had been driven out of her house by her husband and children for involving herself in a cheating case being jailed once before. Her husband is a tailor by profession and she has two daughters and a son. One daughter holds diploma in fashion designing while another daughter is an M.A. student and her son is a car driver.

Police have recovered the jewellery that she had robbed and are expected to recover more robbed jewellery from her after the investigation.

First woman serial killer nabbed
January 1, 2008

BANGALORE: She is perhaps the country's first woman serial killer. The city woke up to this chilling news on Monday. Before wrapping up the year, the city police nabbed K D Kempamma alias Mallika (43) who trapped women in distress and killed them with cyanide.

Kempamma killed six women since 1999 till date. In the last three months alone she had murdered five women, all from Bangalore. On Sunday, Kempamma was arrested by the Kalasipalyam police when she was trying to dispose of the jewellery of the victims. Upon interrogation, she admitted to the crime.

The numbing revelation that she killed her gullible victims in cold-blood while they were asleep or praying has shocked the city. City police commissioner N Achuta Rao said: "She had single handedly murdered six women by using cyanide and decamped with their jewellery and valuables."

The gory story unfolds thus: Kempamma would visit temples near Bangalore posing as an ardent devotee but keep a watch for women in distress. She would then skilfully gain their confidence by listening to their tale of woes and advise them to perform mandal pooja , a special pooja , to overcome their problems.

She would offer to arrange the pooja in a temple on the outskirts of the city. She would then take them to a nearby temple where she would forcefully make them drink water laced with cyanide by holding their nose. Once the victim was dead, she would rob them of their jewellery and money. In some cases, she killed her victims while they were asleep.

Kempamma, a resident of Kaggalipura who was running a chit fund business, marred Devaraj, a tailor at NIMHANS. She was abandoned by her husband in 1998 when she incurred huge losses.

She was thrown out of her house. She then chose the murderous path. She committed her first murder on Oct 19, 1999 in Hoskote when she killed Mamatha Rajan (30) while she was praying. Her last victim was a 30-year-old woman who had no male child. Kempamma killed her while she was sleeping. Between Oct and Dec this year, Kempamma committed five murders, all in Bangalore.

In 2001, she was arrested by the Bidadi police while trying to rob jewels from a house where she was performing a ritual. She was sentenced to six months imprisonment and was released after her term.

Police are yet to make a thorough investigation. "We are collecting details of murders that took place in temple premises during the last few years. We are asking medical experts if they have come across any case of cyanide poisoning. Efforts are on to trace those who supplied the deadly drug to the killer," West DCP K V Sharat Chandra said.

Mallika: India’s First Female Serial Killer
A promise to bring home a missing grandson. A hope for a cure for asthma. A desperate longing for a child. These are just three of the dreams that led Mallika’s victims to their deaths.

Preying on Prayers

Mallika, whose real name is K. D. Kempanna, apparently hung around various Bangalore temples, masquerading as a religious woman who was skilled in pujas and religious rituals. She was adept at spotting women devotees desperately looking for solutions to domestic problems or medical cures. Once she had befriended them, she would convince them that she could help by conducting powerful pujas and rituals at a temple far removed from the victim’s home. She would also give them various instructions; for example, she would invariably instruct the soon-to-be-victim to wear her finest jewelry in order to please the gods.

After travelling to the selected temple, and under the guise of needing privacy, Mallika would rent a room in the choultry attached to it. Once inside the room, she would begin performing the alleged pujas and ask the victim to close her eyes. Then, in a sudden movement, she would grasp the victim by the hair, pull her head back, and quickly thrust cyanide into her mouth. The victim would be dead within 5 minutes and Mallika would leave with any valuables that were available.

According to local news stories, the first of Mallika’s six murders was in October 1999. The next five occurred over a one week period ending in December 2007, when she arrested trying to sell her victims’ possessions.

One of a Kind

While serial killing is typically thought to be a western phenomena in general, and a U.S. one in particular, India is no stranger to serial murder. In fact, Thug Behram, member of the infamous Thuggee cult in the early 1800′s, was credited with personally strangling 125 men and witnessed the strangling of 150 more, was one of the most prolific serial killers who ever lived.

However, Mallika is being touted as the first female Indian serial killer and try as I might, I haven’t been able to find another one. In fact, according to Dr. male Indian criminals are rare in general; according to Dr Rajni, Psychiatrist, Central Prison, Parapanna Agrahara there are only 150 females in a prison population of 4,800.

One of the most interesting comments Dr. Rajni made was that most of the women in India who committed murder were married before age 18; fortunately, this risk factor, if it is one, has declined by almost 50% in the past 7 years. Try as I might, I could not find out when Mallika married; news articles are filled with conflicting details. Most say she abandoned her family in the late 1990′s, a few say her husband deserted her after she went into debt, and the reported number of children she has ranges from 0 to 3. However, while we don’t know much about her past, we do know about her future; last week, she received her second death sentence.