Iritty, Kannur: The Kerala police looking for clues about the body of a migrant woman found in an abandoned well in the border town of Iritty came across a gruesome chain of incidents that led to her death and the disappearance of her two toddlers.

The woman was murdered by her lover, who had conspired with her to kill her husband in their hometown in Karnataka more than a year ago. The accused also confessed to abandoning the couple's two children – a 6-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl - on a Mumbai-bound train from Bengaluru.

Shobha, a native of Tumkur (Tumakuru) in Karnataka, was found dead in a well at Pazhayapalam on January 21, perhaps a week after she was murdered. The police zeroed in on her companion T.K. Manjunath, also her uncle, on February 7. He confessed to killing Shobha but said he lost the two children in Bengaluru.

Incredulous, the police took Manjunath into custody for interrogation. A chilling tale of betrayal was about to come out.

Manjunath, a native of Thimmarajanahalli, said he came to Kerala to live with Shobha at Iritty after killing her husband Raju.

On the day of their crime, Manjunath and Shobha went to Raju’s house at Sathanahalli near Tumkur in his auto-rickshaw and picked their victim.

They strangled Raju with a plastic rope and burned his body inside a pit in the forest near Sira Unchanahalli, said Kannur Narcotics Cell deputy superintendent of police V.N. Viswanathan. Manjunath confessed to the police that they burned the body in a pile of twigs and doused it with diesel. This happened on December 21, 2015.

The police team which went to Tumkur collected evidence from the spot with the help of the Karnataka police. A scientific surgeon and team visited the pit where Raju’s body was burnt.

Manjunath and Shobha had been living as a married couple at Iritty after the murder of Raju.

Cracks soon developed between the couple. Manjunath, who had a legal wife and son at Tumakuru, felt threatened by Shobha’s insinuations to expose him. She did not want Manjunath to go to his family ever, he told the police.

Manjunath also corrected his previous statements that Raju was from Kerala and the children went missing from Bengaluru.

Efforts are on to trace Shobha’s children - six-year-old Aryan and four-year-old Amruta - who were put on a train to Mumbai by her mother’s killer.

The investigating team was led by Peravoor circle inspector M. Sunil Kumar and Iritty sub-inspector K. Sudheer. Probation inspector S. Anshad, Ramesh Babu, Shamsuddeen and Jolly were also part of the team.

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Relief: children abandoned by their parents' killer located in Mumbai

Iritty: The two missing children, who were abandoned in Bengaluru by the murderer of their parents, have been rescued from Mumbai following a special drive launched by the Kerala police with the help of philanthropists and child welfare committees in different states.

The police team on Sunday were informed by the office-bearers of the Mumbai-based Child Welfare Committee that they were able to trace and rescue Aryan, 6, and Amritha, 4.

Tumkur woman's murder in Kannur brings out chilling tale of betrayal and cruelty

Though the message from Mumbai contained photographs of the children, official confirmation will come only after the children are formally identified by the Kerala police, officials said.

A police team led by Iritty sub-inspector S. Anshad will travel to Mumbai on Monday, it is learnt.

The case came to light after migrant woman Shobha's decomposed body was found in an abandoned well at Pazhayapalam, near Iritty, on January 21.

The investigation into the case led to cracking of two shocking crimes and callous cover-up.

The police discovered that Sobha was murdered by her paramour, T. K. Manjunath, a native of Thimmarajanahalli, Tumkur, in Karnataka. The accused, a close relative of the victim, strangulated the woman to death before dumping her body in the unused well.

During interrogation, Manjunath confessed to the murder of Sobha's husband Raju as well.

He told the police that he had strangled Raju with a plastic rope and burnt the body a year ago. The incident, in which Shobha was an accomplice, took place on December 21, 2015 in Tumkur.

While escaping after murdering Shobha, Manjunath abandoned the children in Bengaluru on a Mumbai-bound train.

To trace the missing children, the police prepared posters carrying their photographs and put up them in railway stations across the country. Their images were also shared on social media.

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