By P.T. Bopanna
With the investigators deciding to use DNA test in the sensational Sheena Bora murder case, it is of interest to note that the first major case where DNA test was used to solve a murder case involved a woman from Coorg.
This reporter who used to cover the crime beat for The Times of India in the 1980s, recalls how a Bengaluru court created judicial history by accepting DNA fingerprinting as evidence to convict the killers of a 22-year-old pregnant woman hailing from Coorg.
By using DNA evidence, the prosecution was able to convince the court that a few bones found in a eucalyptus grove belonged to Beena, who went missing without a trace in 1988.
Beena was murdered by her husband M.V. Mahesh and the latter’s father M. Vishakantaiah, an associate professor of entomology in the University of Agricultural Science (UAS), Bengaluru.
The father-son duo who suspected Beena’s fidelity, fed her with cyanide. Then the father chopped the body into small pieces and packed it in gunny bags and hid in the grove at the UAS campus.
The servant of the professor, Subba, who led the police to Been’s remains, later turned hostile in court.
DNA test established that the bones found in the grove belonged to Beena, after comparing them with blood samples drawn from Beena’s mother, sister and brother.