Ahmedabad: In a case deserving kudos, Ahmedabad rural police have solved the rape-and-murder of a then unidentified 35-year-old woman by picking up leads from tattoos on her hand. Cops had little to go by except the tattooed words 'Alkha,' 'Hadakmayi,' 'Ma Kali,' and 'Jogni'. It took them eight whole months, but based just on these clues, they have solved the murder mystery, identified the victim and the offender, and secured a confession from the accused.

The investigation started on June 2 last year, when Bagodara police registered an accidental death case, after a woman's body was found in a room near a temple in Thaliya village on Bagodara-Bavla road. The victim was a woman in her late thirties and she was bludgeoned to death. The postmortem revealed that she was raped before the murder. There were no identity documents that could provide police with a starting point. "We started off with the tattoos on her right hand. She had also worn a copper bracelet, which locals told us, is associated with witch doctors (bhuva). We then started checking temples in the vicinity and mobile towers. After months of work, it led us to Bharatji Thakor, 26, a resident of Dhamasana near Kalol," said Nirlipt Rai, SP of Ahmedabad rural.

Thakor, who had a history of offences such as rape and sexual harassment, was lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail as an undertrial over rape charges in a separate incident. Police obtained his custody, and on questioning, he confessed to have committed the murder. The victim was identified as Alkha Thakor, 35, a resident of Pethapur. "Alkha, a mother of four children, fell in love with Bharatji and lived with him for three years. After a few months, Bharatji fell in love with another woman from Santej who was then 28 years' old. He started viewing Alkha as an obstruction and decided to do away with her. He took her for a ride on his bike, and killed her at the temple after a heated argument," said an investigator.

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