Women are deadly. Whether you want to take that in a good way, or bad, is completely up to you. While some can kill you with just a smile, there are a handful who take the word 'deadly' more seriously. This is story is about these handful. They are wicked, smart, cunning, and vicious.
Possibly the most confusing murder case in India's history, the Sheena Bora murder case is nothing short of being an average Bollywood thriller directed by Abbas-Mustan. Those who are still confused as to what in god's name is going on, here's a little storyline for you. Have put it in pointers for easier understanding.
. A couple from Guwahati adopt a child - Indrani.
. When she was a teenager, Indrani was allegedly impregnated by a close family member.
. Indrani leaves the house and gives birth to Sheena.
. Indrani gets married to Siddhartha Das.
. Indrani and Siddhartha have a child - Mikhail Bora.
. Indrani divorces Siddhartha and gets married to Sanjeev Khanna.
. Indrani and Sanjeev give birth to Vidhi Khanna.
. Indrani and Sanjeev get divorced after a few years.
. Indrani eventually comes to Mumbai.
. She gets married to Peter Mukerjea
. Sheena Bora and Vidhi Khanna come to Bombay and start living with Indrani and Peter.
. Peter also has a son Rahul Mukerjea from his ex-wife Shabnam.
. Sheena and Rahul get into a relationship which is disapproved by Indrani and Peter.
. It later comes to light that the close family member was actually Indrani's father.
. Apparently, Sheena refused to part with a substantial amount of money kept in her offshore account by Indrani.
. Angered by her behaviour Siddhartha and Indrani plot to kill Sheena.
. Indrani and Siddhartha get together and murder Sheena.
. Investigation is still going on. CBI has taken over.
Confusing? Trust me, I needed a flowchart to understand the whole picture.
The most infamous, and perhaps dangerous of them all. But if you are to believe Phoolan Devi's account of her life before she became a bandit, it's hard not to empathise. Born on the 10th of August 1963, there are many who feel most of her crimes stemmed from the suffering, and brutality she faced and witnessed in her life. Of course, the Indian authorities 'officially' don't consider this to be true.
Born in the small village of Ghura Ka Purwa (also spelled Gorha ka Purwa) in Jalaun District, Uttar Pradesh, she was her parents fourth child. Married off at a very young age to an old man belonging to the upper caste, her husband would regularly mistreat and rape her. She would keep running away from her new home, only to be returned to the husband and suffer the same severe punishment. This would happen often before she's finally returned to her parents three years later. Being unsuccessful in 'fulfilling her duties' as a wife, she was marked as a social outcast by the people of her village.
In '79, Phoolan was accused (wrongly apparently) of stealing from someone's house. She was sent to jail for three days, during which she was manhandled and raped apart from being beaten up. It was around now that Phoolan started harbouring hatred for men who undermined, and mistreated women. Later, a gang of dacoits would end up kidnapping her. It was here she met the love of her life, Vikram Mallah, who protected her by killing the gang leader wanting to rape her. She later joined the gang, and became Vikram's second wife. One night, the gang ended up attacking the village where Phoolan's ex-husband lived. She stabbed him and dragged him out in front of the villagers for everyone to see, before leaving a note warning the older men of the village from marrying young, under age girls. Phoolan had now become an integral member of the gang. After every successful crime, she would visit the nearby Durga temple, and thank the goddess for protection.
What brought her into limelight was the Behmai incident. Shri Ram and Lala Ram were two upper-caste dacoits, who once they returned to the gang, were furious to learn about the murder of their gang leader. Soon after, Shri Ram and other Thakur members of the gang attempted to kill Phoolan and Vikram. They managed to kill Vikram, and abduct Phoolan and locked her up in Behmai village. Here she was severely beaten up, and gang-raped by several men of the village. After three weeks of being brutalised, she managed to escape with the help of some villagers. This was the turning point of her life. She managed to recruit a gang of Mallahs and carried out robberies in North and Central India. Although the Indian authorities deny, she would mainly target upper-caste people and shared the loot with the lower-caste people. Like Robin Hood. Seventeen months on, 14th February, 1981, she returned to Behmai for revenge, and a gruesome one it was. Phoolan marched into the village dressed as police officer. Although the details of the incident are not clear, Phoolan did recognise two among the many men who had earlier raped her. When she failed to find all the kidnappers, she ordered her gang to line up all the upper-caste Thakur men in one line, and asked the dacoits to open fire. Even the ones who hadn't done anything. Phoolan was now being referred to as the Bandit Queen. Quite the sensation too, dolls of the bandit queen dressed as Durga had started doing rounds in the markets of UP.
In February 1983, she agreed to surrender. However, she did have a few conditions:
- She insisted that she would only surrender to Madhya Pradesh Police. She didn't trust UP Police.
- She also insisted that she would lay down her weapons only before Durga, and Mahatma Gandhi's picture, not the Police's.
- She needed an affirmation that she won't get the death penalty.
- An assurance that the sentence of the other members of the gang wouldn't exceed eight year.
- A plot of land for her reconciliation.
- Her entire family should be escorted by the police to her surrender ceremony.
She surrendered in front of a crowd of around 10,000 people and 300 police and the then chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Arjun Singh. Phoolan Devi was charged with 48 crimes, including 30 charges of dacoity (banditry) and kidnapping. Her trial was delayed for 11 years, which she served in the prison. She was finally released on parole in 1994 after persuasion by Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, the leader of the Nishadha fishermen community. The Government of Uttar Pradesh, led by Mulayam Singh Yadav, withdrew all the cases against her. She later joined politics, representing Samajwadi Party.
On the 25th of July, 2001, Phoolan was shot dead by three masked gunmen outside of her Delhi bungalow. It later came out that her murder was a revenge for the 21 upper-caste men she gunned down in the Behmai massacre.
The country's first female serial killer, it's safe to state that K.D Kempanna was never up to any good. A resident of Kaggalipura in Karnataka, where she would run a chit fund 'business'. She was abandoned by her husband in 1998 when she incurred huge losses. Convinced she wanted to become rich quick and fast, she turned to murder. Between October '99 till date, she ended up murdering five people in cold blood, all in Bangalore.
Mallika would visit temples near Bangalore posing as a devotee to keep an eye out for women who were in distress. Having spotted one, she would then try to gain their confidence by hearing out their issues and advise them to perform a specialpuja to ward off the evil from their lives. Little did they know, the real evil was telling them to do all this. She would offer to arrange the puja in a temple on the outskirts of the city. The victims were asked to wear most of the jewellery they own. Once there, she would make her victims drink water laced with cyanide. After mercilessly killing them, she would then rob the victims of their jewels and money.
Cyanide Mallika was finally caught by Kalasipalyam police when she was trying to dispose of the jewellery of one of the victims.
Nobody comes out of their mother's womb a criminal. This statement might hold true for most but definitely not Renuka and Seema. Daughters of Anjanabai Gavit, a resident of Pune, she was not your average housewife. There are 125 cases lodged against her for petty thefts like picking pockets and snatching chains at crowded railway stations. That wasn't the end of it. This crook turned murderer when her husband left her to marry another woman in '90. Anjanabai, 58 years-old then, with the help of her two daughters, and Renuka's husband Kiran, plotted the abduction of Mohan and Pratima's first daughter. The second daughter was also supposed to be kidnapped in '96 but it was later foiled thanks to Indian police. The six years in between saw Anjanabai mastermind kidnapping of at least a dozen children.
Further investigations proved that the children would be abducted to throw the cops off the petty crimes that they carried out. When the children became too old, or stood in the family's way, they were brutally murdered.
Some of the deaths were nothing short of horror stories. Santosh, barely a year-and-a-half, began crying one evening on a bus stand. Fearing the child would draw unwanted attention, they banged the infant's head against the floor, and an iron pole till he died in their arms. Santosh's body was later thrown under an autorickshaw. Another 18-month-old child, Bhavna was ruthlessly gagged, wrapped in a handbag, and left in a toilet cubicle of a cinema hall. Two-year-old Naresh was starved and beaten to death because he would cry for his mother. Three-year-old Pankaj dared to talk to people around their house. He was hung upside down from the ceiling and his head slammed against the wall until he died.
By the time they had laid their eyes on their 14th victim, their second step-sister, the cops were already on their trail. Anjanabai died a year after being arrested. Renuka's husband agreed to testify against the two women. The charges on him were dropped. Renuka and Seema were awarded the death penalty in 2001.
Neha Verma was a beautician who was plotting a robbery at the Deshpande residence. She entered the house by befriending the mother, Megha, on the pretext of a job. Megha fell for Neha's charms and soon she had become a regular. After making up her mind about the robbery, she got in touch with two men, Rahul and Manoj, who would help Neha commit the crime. On reaching the Deshpande residence, Neha, and the two men opened fire. They killed the three generations of the Deshpande family in the most gruesome fashion. First opening fire at them, before stabbing them multiple times. They left the house with Rs. 1.5 lakh, Rs.5 lakh worth of jewellery, and two ATM cards.
Police got an early lead in the investigation after learning that Rahul, who had accidentally shot his own foot, got himself admitted in a local hospital. All three were caught within a few days along with the pistol, the knives, the money and the ATM cards. The chargesheet filed by the police stated that the trio wanted to make quick bucks and chose the way of crime. Neha wanted to settle down with her boyfriend Rahul and was fascinated with luxurious life style and to fulfill her dreams she had identified Megha as a target at Orbit Mall when she was wearing a heavy gold ornaments. The accused had executed the crime after consuming a cocktail of sedative drugs, whisky and beer.
The court in its order termed the crime as 'rarest of rare' where the convicts do not deserve an mercy. The judge sentenced all three the death penalty for the murder of Ashlesha Deshpande (21), her mother Megha (42) and grandmother Rohini Phadke (70).
The oldest case of female serial murderess takes us back to 8th of November in 1883. Now, since we don't know the name of the woman here, let's call her the 'Devil'. A woman in Kolkata, living in Amratolla lane, Devil's modus operandi was similar to that of Cyanide Mallika's, or it may have been the other way round actually. Her victims would be chosen on two accounts- their wealth, and how smart they were. After narrowing down on the target, she would ask her victims to meet her at Kakoorgachi, a place on the outskirts of the town, which she told them was her guru's garden. Once there, she would tell them to immerse themselves in the tank for purification. When they dipped their heads she violently caught hold of them by their tresses, and by sheer force strangled them under water. The place was so secluded, no cries of help would get any response.
Her fifth victim, turned out to be her last thankfully. Some fishermen were engaged in the neighbouring pond when they got attracted to the spot by the cries. Seeing what the matter was about, handed her over to the police. The police say there had been on five different occasions corpses seen floating on the water of the tank to which they had failed to obtain any clue, and not unnaturally were disposed to connect her with these cases.
'If looks could kill' is a literal phrase in this story where starlet Simran Sood was involved in the sensational murders of two Delhi residents. This story is about a former gangster and prime accused, Vijay Palande who, along with his model wife Simran Sood used to 'honeytrap' people to commit crimes for property. Palande was earlier convicted of a double murder in 1998, and again in 2002. He jumped parole in 2003, went to Bangkok for a cosmetic surgery to change his features, and returned to Mumbai in 2005.
Palande had befriended the aspiring actor Anuj Tikku with a motive of acquiring his plush apartment in Mumbai's Lokhandwala complex. Simran would introduce Palande as her 'brother' to Anuj, and Karankumar Kakkad, an aspiring producer based out of Delhi. Both Palande and Simran were eventually arrested after he murdered Anuj's father and Delhi-businessman Arunkumar Tikku. Karankumar was also abducted and murdered before they got caught. Palande later confessed that he killed Kakkad because he suspected the latter of being an underworld mole, who would eventually kill him.
It was a gruesome murder that perhaps didn't get the deserved punishment. Mumbai-based television executive Neeraj Grover and Maria Susairaj were very close friends, so it was natural when Neeraj went missing, she filed a police complaint. What the police found out next was horrifying to say the least.
On May 6th, 2008, Grover had stayed with Maria at her flat. Emile Jerome, a naval officer, also Susairaj's boyfriend at that time came to know about this. Suspecting the two were having an affair, he flew down to Chennai where he caught the two of them in her flat. Boiling with anger, Jerome murders Grover, goes to a nearby mall to buy a knife, chops up his body in pieces, put it in a bag, and with Maria's help, burnt the bags in a forest.
The two were let off easy after Jerome got convicted of culpable homicide not amounting murder and she was only guilty of destroying evidence. Maria perhaps isn't half has vicious as the others on this list, but it could've been avoided. Neeraj's life could've been saved. Ram Gopal Verma's movie 'Not A Love Story' was loosely based on this incident.
Arrested in April this year, 52-years-old Baby Patankar had been dealing deadly drugs for over two decades! Arrested back in 2001 for peddling weed, Baby started out small only to become the drug baron of Bombay. Her latest speciality was was supplying a party drug called Meow-Meow, also known as, M-Cat, Bubbles, and chemically known as Mephedrone. Meow-Meow could be described as a cross between cocaine and ecstacy, and is far more affordable than other drugs. At the end of the last decade, it became one of the most popular drugs in the UK, before it was banned in 2010. It was added to India’s list of prohibited drugs in March 2015.
Things finally started spiralling downwards when her 'boyfriend', and police constable Dharmaraj Kalokhe was arrested for being in possession of over 120 kg of mephedrone, some of it stashed in his locker at Marine Drive police station. Apparently she was always on the police radar, but would manage to give them the slip thanks her deep networks within the city’s police force. Patankar even worked as a police informant at one point in her life. The arrest of Kalokhe triggered a nationwide manhunt of the drug lord. Dangerous.