The Sensational Murder Case of 1952
The Alavandar murder case that took place in the year 1952 in the Southern part of India was a very shocking case that left Tamil Nadu dumbstruck.
Warning Note: The following article includes sensitive content.
About Alavandar —
Alavandar was a man in his 40s. He used to work as a sub-divisional officer at the Army Headquarters at Avadi near Madras (now Chennai) during World War II. After India achieved Independence, he was discharged from the British Indian Army. Alavandar opened a shop selling plastic goods. Later on, he started a business dealing in fountain pens and the company name was Gem & Co. Not only fountain pens but even dealing in beautiful Indian Saris made Alanvandar a well-known businessman. He sold Saris in installments for the women who were unable to pay a lump sum amount on Saris at once were allowed to make payments in installments (Wooho! Installment payment is not a bad idea!). The business was running fine and he was earning good enough money, until one day when he went missing.
Alavandar gone missing —
On 29th August 1952, Alanvandar’s wife made a complaint at the Law College Police Station at Esplanade, Madras that her husband is missing. Since Alavandar was a well-known businessman in the big city of Madras, the police started the search immediately with stricter investigations. The investigations revealed many unknown facts and secrets about the “well-known businessman” (not so well-known I guess!).
The Womanizer and Drug Addict —
The investigations conducted revealed that Alavandar was an Opium addict and womanizer. Even though he was married and had two children, he had a lot of interest in other women (disloyal brat!). Selling Saris in installments to the poor women (or to the women he is interested in should I say?) was his way of fulfilling his sex addiction. Those women who were unable to pay the full amount even after multiple installments were asked to sleep with Alavandar and not many women disagreed which made him more of a womanizer.
Alavandar was also an opium addict. He believed that opium is an aphrodisiac (Assumptions huh!). But there is no such scientifically proven data and opium is considered a drug that is not good for health. Alavandar’s doctor told the police during the investigation that he took opium to relieve himself from asthma attacks.
Devaki enters Alavandar’s Life —
Devaki a woman from Kerala in her late 20s was a beautiful, college graduate who lived in Madras and did social service (Note: Devaki is not Alavandar’s wife). One day Devaki had visited the pen shop to buy a pen and had met Alavandar. Since “the great businessman” was a womanizer, he managed to befriend Devaki, and soon they were entangled in a love relationship.
Devaki somehow found out about how bad of a drug addict and womanizer Alavandar was so she forcefully broke off the relationship. She informed her parents about the same and married off to another man. Even after Devaki’s marriage, Alavandar used to trouble her and visit her often even though she was not interested. But surprisingly one day (28th August 1952) Devaki called Alavandar and he obviously rushed to her house. The next day Mrs. Alavandar filed a complaint about her missing husband.
A Malodorous Train —
The Indo-Ceylon Express train was traveling towards Dhanushkodi down south from Egmore Railway Station at Madras. The train had steamed into the Manamadurai Junction the previous night when it left from Egmore Railway Station. In one of the compartments, passengers boarding from Manamadurai had complained about a very bad and unbearable odor coming from under a seat. The bad smell was found out to be coming from a steel trunk from under one of the seats. Also, some bad-smelling fluid was seen to have been coming out of the trunk.
The local police had taken out the steel trunk and found out that it contained a human nude male corpse with no head and the hands and legs cut off separately. Green socks were found covering the corpse’s feet and a thick thread was tied on the waist (*insert puking emoticon*). The police of Manamadurai sent the corpse to the district headquarters for the autopsy.
The autopsy was done at the Erksine Hospital by the District Medical Officer Dr. Krishnaswami, a radiologist. He submitted the report but it was found out that his conclusions were not right as the report said the body was of a man who was around 25 years old. The reason is that generally, the fusion of two bones happens at the lower back at that age. The confusion was removed when a second autopsy was done at Madras.
Back at Madras —
At Madras, Mrs. Alavandar had visited Devaki’s house on Cemetery Road in Royapuram where Devaki’s husband answered her. Mrs. Alavandar had asked him the whereabouts of her husband to which Devaki’s husband had responded that he never visited and he had not seen him. This led to suspicion and Mrs. Alavandar had asked Cunnan Chetty (Alavandar’s friend) to file a complaint.
The police had rushed towards Devaki’s house to Royapuram only to find out that Devaki and her husband have left for Bombay (now Mumbai). The police officer investigated around and he was going towards the Royapuram Beach where he found out a strange Plastic bag floating and was pushed to the side of the shore due to the waves. He picked up the bag and saw that it was further wrapped with a brown shirt and when he opened it he was shocked after seeing what was inside — a human head!
The human head was sent to the Madras Medical College Forensic Department and Dr. C. B. Gopalakrishna who was an assistant professor of Forensic Medicine performed the post-mortem. Simultaneously the corpse which was found in Manamadurai was also handed over to Dr. C. B. Gopalakrishna.
Tests were done and it was confirmed that the head and the body parts matched and were of the same person. During the post-mortem, Dr. C. B. Gopalakrishna identified a deep cut on the head of the body. He stated that the cut was due to an attack made using a very sharp weapon somewhat like a knife. Mrs. Alavandar was asked to visit the mortuary and she confirmed that the corpse was of her husband Alavandar. Contrary to the report made by Dr. Krishnaswami who was a radiologist at the Erksine Hospital, Dr. C. B. Gopalakrishna concluded in his report that the corpse was of a man in his 40s.
What happened at Devaki’s House?
On 28th August 1952, Devaki called Alavandar to her house and he had left his pen shop around noon (as told by the Shop’s staff). Many people around Devaki’s neighborhood confirmed that they had seen Alavandar enter Devaki’s house but no one saw him come out.
At her house, after Alavandar had entered, he was offered coffee (that contained sleeping pills which Alavandar did not have the knowledge of). After chugging the coffee, Alavandar felt drowsiness and became unconscious. Meanwhile, Devaki and her husband, slit Alavndar’s throat with a sharp weapon and separated the head from the body. Devaki’s husband tied a very tight thread around Alavandar’s waist and separated his legs out of the body, they both even chopped off both his hands separately.
For disposing off the body, both Devaki and her husband put the parts of Alavandar’s body in a steel trunk and placed it under the seat of the Indo-Ceylon Express as if they were traveling and got down from the train. For disposing off the head, Devaki’s husband wrapped it using Alavandar’s shirt and then put it inside a black plastic bag. He went to the Royapuram beach and threw the head.
They both went back home and had planned to run off to Bombay when Mrs. Alavandar had shown up and asked about her husband. They told her that he never came and after Mrs. Alavandar left, they both rushed to Bombay. The police had concluded that the murder of Alavandar was committed by Devaki and her husband and was in search of them.
How did the police conclude that Devaki and her husband had committed the murder? At this point, it is pretty obvious but they needed evidence. In the post-mortem report submitted by Dr. C. B. Gopalakrishna he had stated 2 more DNAs were found and on searching Devaki’s house at Royapuram they had found their few items and concluded that the DNAs matched with Devaki and her husband’s.
The scene at Bombay —
The Madras city police traveled to Bombay and successfully traced Devaki's relatives with whom she and her husband were staying. Devaki had undergone an abortion and was at home resting, meanwhile, her husband had gone out. The police traced him as well. One of the police was speaking the Devaki’s husband when he noticed a pen in his shirt pocket with Alavandar’s initials. Devaki’s husband tried to run away when the police mentioned Alavandar but he was caught. Both Devaki and her husband were charged with the murder of Alavandar and were brought to Madras.
The scene at Madras High Court —
To avoid losing the accused at Madras High Court, they were locked in a concealed door on the floor at the 4th Court hall. After every hearing, they were sent back in and the hall was armed with strict security.
The police had also found out more evidence to make the case stronger — Devaki’s blood-stained saree from the murder scene that she had thrown in a park at Broadway. A knife which is commonly known as Malabar knife was also recovered adding more evidence to the murder. Even the shop where Devaki’s husband had brought the knife from was traced out.
The defense lawyer argued that such a murder was committed for the purpose of self-defense as Alavandar had continually disturbed Devaki even after marriage. In response to this statement, the learned state prosecutor argued that self-defense must include two important elements, first is that there should have been an imminent threat or danger to one’s personal safety or property and second is that the force used for the purpose of self-defense must be a force that is enough to stop the other person from attacking. This case cannot amount to self-defense due to the lack of these two elements and it was further argued that the murder was a pre-planned one.
The trial was presided by Justice A.S.P. Iyer. The learned state prosecutor built up a strong case of a pre-planned heinous murder. Justice A.S.P. Iyer sentenced 7 years of imprisonment to Devaki’s husband and 3 years of imprisonment to Devaki.
After serving in Prison —
After getting released from prison, Devaki and her husband set up a tea shop in Kerala. Over the years they prospered and turned their small tea shop into a big hotel.