The Karnataka police have arrested a 35-year-old man who worked at Mangaluru airport in connection with the murders of a woman and three of her children at their home in Nejaru, Udupi, on November 12.
The police arrested Praveen Arun Chougule for the murders of Haseena M (47), two of her young daughters and a teenage son. Haseena, her daughters Afnan (23), an Air India employee, and Aynaz, (21), a student in Mangaluru, and son Aseem (14), a Class 8 student, were stabbed to death by a visitor, who also attacked Haseena’s mother-in-law.
“A man who was employed at the airport and identified as Praveen Arun Chougule has been arrested by the police. He was tracked down to Kudachi in Belagavi, where he was staying with relatives after committing the murders,” a police source said.
The police tracked down the suspect on the basis of technical data including mobile tower location information and call data records, the source said.
Praveen Chougule, a resident of Sangli, was a security staff at the airport, and animosity he had developed towards Afnan, the woman who worked with Air India in Mangaluru, is suspected to be the motive for the murders.
Afnan and her sister Aynaz had returned home from Mangaluru to spend the holiday weekend with their mother and relatives in Udupi.
“We are trying to ascertain who was the primary target since the girls came home only the previous night and the killer arrived in the morning,” a police source said ahead of the arrest.
The police said earlier on Tuesday that they were looking at a possible workplace-related angle involving the older daughter.
Following the murders, the suspect travelled to Kudachi in Belagavi to spend Diwali with his maternal relatives by pretending everything was normal, police sources said.
Noor Mohammed, Haseena’s husband, who worked in Saudi Arabia, and their son who works in an airline company in Bengaluru as ground staff were away from the home when the incident occurred. They arrived later on November 12 to attend the funeral of their family members.
Haseena’s mother-in-law Hajira (70) was also injured and hospitalised. Since Haseena’s husband worked abroad, she used to live with her children and mother-in-law.
The incident took place at Tripthi Layout in the Malpe police station limits around 9 am. Though all the family members were stabbed, Hajira managed to lock herself in the bathroom. Their neighbours reached out after hearing cries for help.
A police officer said, “The killer had taken an autorickshaw to reach the house and was talking in Kannada. An autorickshaw driver had seen him.”
The autorickshaw driver said, “Around 8.30-9am, a man got into the autorickshaw and asked to be taken to Tripthi Layout. I dropped him to the house and he paid the money. I returned to the autorickshaw stand.” In about 15 minutes the man returned to the Santhekatte autorickshaw stand, he told the police.
The police registered a murder case and pursued investigations with five special teams constituted for the purpose.