From ‘Tandoor Killer’ To UP 'Brain Eater', Here Are 7 Murder Stories That Send Shivers Down The Spine

The news of 28-year-old Aftab Amin Poonawalla murdering his alleged live-in partner Shraddha Walkar, chopping her body into pieces and scattering them across Delhi’s Mehrauli forest over 18 days has left the country in deep shock. 

As gruesome details about the murder and how he kept it under wraps for more than five months are still being uncovered, it is unfortunate to say that there have been equally shocking cases in the country since the last century. Here’s a list of 7 most frightening murders from the past.

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1) Belarani Dutta murder case, 1954

In 1950s-era Kolkata, a sweeper found a severed hand wrapped in a newspaper near the Kalighat Park. Soon, more such newspaper-covered packets of dismembered body parts were recovered.

When a mutilated head was also found, the police could not identify the severely damaged face of the victim, with features like ears and eyes gouged out, and the skin peeled off.

The police even got a plastic surgeon on board to reconstruct the face of the dead woman with the little physical evidence they had.

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Soon, a sketch of the apparent face of the victim was also prepared based on the surgeon’s findings, circulated in local newspapers for the public to identify.

Finally, Samarendra Nath Ghosh, the officer-in-charge who headed the investigation probe, ended up finding the killer by chance when an empty pharmacy’s employee told him about his owner having gone missing for a month.

This missing man was eventually found and identified as Biren Dutta, a man who led a dual life marrying two women named Belarani and Meera.

When Belarani told him that she was pregnant with his child, Biren ended up killing her and the child and cutting up her corpse brutally. The remains scattered across Kolkata were what remained of Belrani. Biren was eventually hanged to death.

2) Geeta and Sanjay ransom case, 1978

Having just been released from Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail, ex-cons Kuljeet Singh (Ranga) and Jasbir Singh (Billa) planned on starting a kidnapping racket in Delhi. They started out by abducting 16-year-old Geeta Chopra and her 10-year-old brother Sanjay. Both were children of a Captain in the Indian Navy and had to be picked up by their father to perform at an All India Radio programme.


With Ranga and Billa catching hold of the siblings, both Geeta and Sanjay tried to put up a fight; with Geeta even managing to scar Billa to the point that he had to get hospital stitches after this incident. Billa and Ranga’s aim was to kidnap them for ransom but upon realising that their father might not be that wealthy after all, they decided to kill them in cold blood instead.

Sanjay was the first one to be slain and police reports speculate that Geeta might have even been sexually abused before she was killed. Their father filed an FIR, following which the police managed to track down Billa and Ranga’s vehicle and the court sentenced them to death by hanging in 1982. 

3) The tandoor murder, 1995

In what was described as “Tandoor murder,” a man killed his wife in perhaps the most barbaric manner possible. Sushil Sharma, an MLA, shot his wife Naina Sahni on July 2, 1995 due to piled up jealousy and insecurity over her equation with a colleague.  

If this murder was not enough, Sushil took his wife’s body to a restaurant in South Delhi called Baigya. The eatery’s manager Keshav Sharma accompanied him in his vicious plan of disposing off the corpse. In what was described by the media as the “Tandoor Murder”, Keshav and Sushil tried burning her body in a tandoor (clay oven).


The police eventually nabbed them both, the cause of death ascertained to what was described by Delhi Police as a “fruitful second autopsy”.

While the first autopsy revealed the cause of death to be burn wounds, the second one led police to realise that the burnt corpse actually had bullet holes in the head and neck.

This led them to nab Sushil Sharma who himself confessed to the crime and was sentenced to death. His death sentence was later commuted to life; and in 2018, Sushil Sharma walked out of jail a free man, after 29 years in prison. As for Keshav Sharma, he had to serve seven years of imprisonment.

4) Raja Kolander case, 2000

Ram Nirajan alias Raja Kolander was found guilty of killing at least 15 people, including a journalist Dhirendra Singh in Uttar Pradesh. The court while convicting Kolander had declared the murder of Dhirendra Singh as a ‘rarest of rare’ case.

The investigations against Kolander started in 2000 when Dhirendra Singh was killed and his family filed a case. During the course of investigating the murder of the journalist, the police searched the house of district panchayat member and Kolander’s wife Phoolan Devi where several articles belonging to Singh, including his vehicle, were recovered. 

Kolander admitted to the murder and during the investigation several human skulls were also found. Kolander had identified Singh’s body and had also revealed that he had buried 14 human skulls in his house.

In fact, Kolander disclosed that he had called Singh at his farmhouse in Pipri, UP where he was shot dead by Kolandar’s brother-in-law Vakchharaj. After killing Singh, Kolander and Vakchharaj loaded his body into a Tata Sumo and went to Madhya Pradesh. They dismembered his body, took the head with them and dug it into the fields. Singh’s head was thrown into the Bansagar pond in Rewa in MP.


The prosecution described him as a serial killer in the court as he was involved in the murder of 14 other people. He reportedly killed his victims and then used to keep their skulls. His motive for carrying out the killings was to take revenge from his enemies and to increase his mental power.

The prosecution had also told the court that Kolander used to eat certain body parts of his victims, including the brain. He used to take out blood from brains of the victims and then drank it. He also used to throw severed body parts before pigs at the farmhouse and hung the skulls on a tree. He used to segregate his victims’s skulls on the basis of their castes and used to pronounce judgment on them.

The police had also recovered a diary belonging to Kolander, which he used to call the court diary. The diary had details about his victims and also about those he wanted to kill. According to police records Kolander was a history-sheeter and before tuning into a killer he used rob people. He committed his first murder in 1998 which continued till 2000 when he killed Singh.


5) Nithari killings, 2006

Surinder Koli was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a girl called Rimpa Haldar from Nithari village, Noida in February 2006.

Koli and his employer Moninder Singh Pandher were arrested on 29 December 2006 after the police recovered skeletons and other belongings of missing girls from the drain outside Pandher’s house in Noida on the outskirts of the national capital.

Later, it was found that Koli had killed several girls, chopped their bodies to pieces before throwing them in the backyard and then in the drain. The sensational killings came to light after the Noida police found human remains in a drain behind the accused’s house in 2006.

nithari house

The Supreme Court in June 2015 agreed to hear Uttar Pradesh government’s plea against commutation of death sentence of Surinder Koli, convicted in 2006 Nithari serial killings case and issued a notice to the convict.

The death sentence of Surinder Koli was commuted to life imprisonment by the Allahabad high court on the ground of “inordinate delay” in deciding his mercy petition. The CBI court has also convicted Koli and Pandher in the murder of another girl Deepika alias Payal.

Accused Koli and Pandher are currently incarcerated for rape and murder of multiple persons.


6) ‘Cyanide Mallika’, 1999-2007  

K D Kempamma, infamously referred to as ‘Cyanide Mallika’ killed six women between 1999 and 2007. She targeted female devotees in temples in Bengaluru, persuading them to perform pujas and in the process would then ask them to drink ‘holy water’ and food spiked with cyanide.

Kempamma would go to the temple every day and keep track of what was going on. She kept a close eye on the regulars who seemed to be in a lot of pain and were rich. Kempamma would approach them as a holy woman when the time was right and lend her ears to their problems. She was well aware that they were in pain and knew just what they desired.

She decided to assist them with a ‘mandala pooja,’ which she promised would solve all of their problems. She would also ask them to put on their most precious dress and all of their jewels for the ceremony.


Kempamma would often invite them to a temple on the outskirts that they were unfamiliar with. She would then ask them to close their eyes and pray after that. They had no idea it would be their last. Then she would serve them cyanide-laced water as “holy water.” And that was her modus operandi.

She was arrested and tried for poisoning and murdering the victims in 2007 and sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment.

7) Neeraj Grover murder case, 2008

TV producer Neeraj Grover was associated with shows like the Shah Rukh Khan-hosted Kya Aap Paanchvi Paas Se Tez Hai and a proposed reworking of the Mahabharat. It is through a TV audition that he crossed paths with a Kannada actress, Maria Susairaj.

The two eventually embarked on an extramarital affair, drawing the ire of Susairaj’s husband Lieutenant Emile Jerome Mathew, an Indian Navy officer based in Kochi. 

After finding his wife in a compromising position with Grover, Mathew’s first impulse was to stab him to death.

Once the deed had been done, both husband and wife conspired to hide the body by butchering Grover’s body into numerous chunks and then drove to the outskirts of Mumbai, burning duffel bags filled with his remains. 


To trick the authorities, Susairaj herself went to Mumbai Police to file a missing person’s complaint.

Eventually, the police began connecting the dots once some blood markings were found on the door knob of Susairaj’s flat. The blood sample was matched with Grover’s DNA; the actress eventually broke down and confessed to the crime.

Mathew was sentenced to a total of 13 years (10 for homicide, 3 for destroying evidence) in prison, while Susairaj was let off lightly as she was found guilty only of destroying evidence, and was sentenced for three years.

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