Duo robs, murders woman on pretext of magic rituals

Desperate to keep her lover from leaving her, the Pune resident approached her friend and a eunuch to help her with magic rituals; instead they strangled her and robbed jewellery worth Rs 2.5 lakh

Pune: A woman’s desire to safeguard her extra-marital affair and ensure her lover’s loyalty, ended in death, after she approached a eunuch who claimed to solve such problems with magic. Far from giving her her heart’s desire, however, the eunuch and a friend killed the woman and stole all her jewellery.

The accused: Manisha was murdered by her friend Lalita (extreme left) and the eunuch Laxmi who also stole her ornaments
The accused: Manisha was murdered by her friend Lalita (extreme left) and the eunuch Laxmi who also stole her ornaments

Manisha Ravlekar (28) lived in Hadapsar, with her husband and two children. She doubled as a maid and a real estate agent. For the past two years, she had been having an affair with a local builder who was also a distant relative. Recently, however, their relationship had become rocky, especially when she learnt that he planned to leave her and move abroad with his family.

Desperate to keep her lover close, she confided in her friend and business partner, Lalita Kasbe. Lalita introduced Manisha to a eunuch, Laxmi alias Gautam Kamble, who claimed to be well versed in black magic. Laxmi assured Manisha that she would soon have her lover back if they performed some rituals.

Manisha rented a flat in Hadapsar for Rs 10,000 a month, where the group practised the rituals for a month. Unbeknownst to her, however, Lalita was aware that Manisha possessed a lot of jewellery given by her builder beau, and she and Laxmi began to hatch a plot to rob her.

“Both the accused were in a financial crisis and planned the murder two days in advance. On February 21, the eunuch advised her to come well dressed and wear all her gold and silver ornaments, which would make the impact of the rituals long lasting and effective. The deceased was asked to close her eyes and lie on the bed. Lalita could not control herself after seeing the jewellery,” said Sub-inspector Prasad Lonare of Hadapsar police station, who is investigating the case.

Laxmi removed the string from her saree petticoat and tied it around Manisha’s neck, strangling her. In the meantime, Lalita removed the ornaments, estimated to be worth Rs 2.5 lakh. After they strangled Manisha, the duo then escaped.

The police was called in the next day, after local residents complained about a foul smell.
“We initially suspected her husband, but with the help of CCTV footage recovered from a nearby shop, we learnt the role of the eunuch,” said ACP (Zone IV) Rajan Bhogle.

Both Lalita and Laxmi
confessed after they were arrested under Sections 302 (murder), 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), as well as the state anti-superstition law. The police also managed to recover the jewellery from a pawnshop.On Sunday, the duo was remanded in police custody till March 13.

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