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Bhopal tailor who killed 33 people says dad didn't love him: Stories of some of India’s most chilling serial killers

From the first woman serial killer to a man who killed because he hated women, here are some horror tales.

 |  4-minute read |   13-09-2018
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Fresh details are emerging everyday as police interrogate Aadesh Khamra, a Bhopal tailor arrested last week, who has allegedly killed 33 truck drivers and their helpers in the past 11 years.

After he told the police that he was inspired by an “uncle”, Ashok Khamra, who allegedly killed 100 truck drivers before being arrested in 2010, Aadesh on September 13 claimed he turned into a “violent man” from an “introvert child” because his father didn’t love him and “no one cared for me”.

Murder as good business

From what the police have pieced together so far, during the day, Aadesh, a mild-mannered man, worked at his shop as a tailor. At night, he would be out on the roads, befriending truck drivers, killing, and robbing them.

Aadesh Khamra has allegedly killed 33 truck drivers and their helpers. (Photo: India Today)Aadesh Khamra has allegedly killed 33 truck drivers and their helpers. (Photo: India Today)

Aadesh and his gang often struck up conversations with drivers and their helpers at roadside eateries — a common conversation started was asking for a mobile phone charger. Later, the victims would be drugged, murdered, their bodies disposed at culverts or in hilly areas, and the trucks and their contents sold. According to the police, the gang had a preference for Tata trucks, as they fetched a good resale amount.

While Aadesh and another accomplice have been arrested, the police are trying to unravel the network of these gangs operating along highways, as at times, the drugs and sedatives used by Aadesh were allegedly paid for by those who later bought the stolen goods.

Officers interrogating him say Aadesh has not shown remorse so far, and remembers the murders in unsettling detail — the victims’ last meal, the injuries they sustained because of his blows, and where he dumped their bodies.

While the police will get to the bottom of the case, the Bhopal tailor is by no means the only serial killer India has seen.

Here are some other such cases, where the murderers were caught and convicted.

The sisters who killed toddlers

Seema Gavit and Renuka Shinde, step-sisters from Maharashtra, could possibly become the first women to get capital punishment in India.

Renuka and Seema were trained in petty crime by their mother, Anjana. Renuka and Seema were trained in petty crime by their mother, Anjana. (Photo: India Today)

Charged with kidnapping 13 children and killing 10 of them, the women were convicted of five of the murders by the Supreme Court in 2006. 

Seema and Renuka were trained in petty theft and pickpocketing by their mother Anjana, who was abandoned by two husbands. The women would kidnap children — often toddlers —to use as distractions during the thefts. The children who gave them trouble were killed.

In one case, they smashed a child’s head on an electric pole. In another, they killed a two-year-old, chopped and stuffed his body in a gunny bag, and watched a movie with the bag lying near their feet.

The women were sentenced to death by the Kolhapur sessions court, the Bombay High Court, and the Supreme Court. After then-President Pranab Mukherjee rejected their mercy plea, they filed a review petition. Their defence lawyer maintains the murders were committed by their mother Anjana, who died during trial.

Cyanide Mallika    

KD Kempamma from Bangalore is often considered to be India’s first woman serial killer. She was given the death penalty for the murder of six women in 2010. However, her sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in 2012.

KD Kempamma would hear out the women's problems most sympathetically. KD Kempamma would hear out the women's problems most sympathetically. (Photo: India Today)

Kempamma would look for her victims outside temples, preying on women troubled with domestic disputes or childlessness. This kindly-looking, middle-aged woman would befriend them, hear out their problems, and suggest a puja to help them.

She would ask the women to come to a temple far from their homes, dressed in their finery for the puja. Here, she gave them food or a drink laced with cyanide — hence, the name — killed them, and made off with their money and jewellery.

According to the police, Kempamma always had a taste for the high life, and turned to murders after her chit fund business went bust.

The man who hated women

After three women murderers, the last on this list is a man who hated and feared women.

Raman Raghav — who inspired an Anurag Kashyap movie, Raman Raghav 2.0 — was one of India’s most prolific serial killers.

Raman Raghav would smash in his victims' heads with a rod-like weapon. Raman Raghav would smash in his victims' heads with a rod-like weapon. (Photo: India Today)

Raghav killed 41 people between 1965 and 1968, all slum-dwellers, or those who slept on the streets of Mumbai. He smashed in the heads of his victims, with a crowbar-like weapon. Such was his terror that soon, all kinds of rumours spreading — the creature stalking Mumbai’s streets was a demon, he could change form at will, he was an alien.

Once, he killed a woman sleeping next to her infants, and then had sex with her body. Several times, he would kill his victims and then finish off their meals while the bleeding body lay beside him. He would steal random things from the houses he struck — a pot of ghee, some utensils, a ‘gold’ chain that turned out to be fake.

He claimed an “inner voice” — which he believed was Lord Shiva’s — commanded him to kill, and he attacked the people who were “trying to turn him into a woman”.

Raghav was sentenced to death by a Sessions Court in 1969. Later, the Bombay High Court reduced the term to life imprisonment in 1987. However, Raghav died in 1995 of kidney failure.

Also read: Behind the lives of the other Indian serial killers

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