Former employee arrested for killing rice trader’s spouse

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Former employee arrested for killing rice traders wifeCHENNAI: Police on Monday arrested a former employee for the murder of a rice merchant’s wife in Villivakkam near ICF on Saturday.

Investigators said M Balagurunathan, 36, killed K Rukmani Devi, 55, by dumping a 75-kg sack of rice on her, causing her to suffocate to death. The attack also left her with a fractured hand and a broken tooth.

Devi’s husband Kamalanathan, 60, had employed Balagurunathan as a goods loader at his wholesale rice outlet four months ago. Balagurunathan plotted to kill Devi because she treated him badly and admonished him constantly while he worked for Kamalanathan, an investigating officer said. He attempted to take the opportunity when Kamalanathan was hospitalised, and made an aborted bid to kill Devi a week ago.

“Devi, 55, had taken over supervision of the rice shop after her husband fell ill at Villivakkam,” the officer said. “We suspected that the loader was responsible for the crime after we found that Devi harassed him at work, saying he was unfit for the job. Later, when we questioned him, he made contradictory statements.”

“Balagurunathan was looking for an opportunity to kill Devi and even made an attempt a week ago but in vain,” the officer said

On Saturday, when Kamalanathan was away, Balagurunathan switched off the security cameras in the rice shop and attacked Devi.

A magistrate on Monday remanded Balagurunathan in judicial custody.

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