THE WIFE and son of a multi-millionaire hotelier from the coastal Karnataka town of Udupi were arrested on Sunday in connection with his disappearance. They have reportedly admitted that they killed the hotelier, in connivance with a local astrologer, in order to grab his property estimated to be worth over Rs 300 crore.
Bhaskar Shetty, 52, the owner of Durga Hotels and three commercial complexes in Udupi and six supermarkets in Saudi Arabia, has been missing for over a week. On July 30, his mother, Gulabi, filed a missing person’s complaint with the Udupi police. She expressed apprehension that his wife Rajeshwari Shetty, 45, a homemaker, and son Navaneeth Shetty, 25, owner of a gym, may be involved in his disappearance.
The police then took Rajeshwari and Navaneeth into custody. The astrologer, Niranjan Bhat Asranna, who allegedly plotted the crime with Rajeshwari, is still at large.
In their statement, Rajeshwari and Navaneeth admitted that they had killed Shetty at his home near Manipal on July 28. They told the police that they took the body to the astrologer’s residence in Nandalike, where they burnt it and threw the remains into a river.
“The circumstantial evidence we have gathered confirms the murder. But we are still trying to find the body,” said Additional Superintendent of Police (Udupi) N Vishnuvardhan.
The Udupi police said the astrologer was a central figure in the crime, having gained access to the family through Navaneeth two years ago. Shetty, who used to spend a lot of his time in Saudi Arabia, had objected to his wife’s proximity to the astrologer, police said.
On May 8, Shetty reportedly told his wife to break her ties with Asranna or grant a divorce. Shetty reportedly told his wife and son that he would not give them any share of his property. They also came to know that Shetty was in the process of writing a will in favour of his parents, sisters and brothers.
Navaneeth allegedly assaulted his father, after which Shetty moved to his hotel. On July 28, Shetty reportedly went home and was attacked by his son with a pepper spray. The youth assaulted his father with an iron rod and killed him with the help of his mother, police claimed.
During investigations, police found that Rajeshwari, Navaneeth and Asranna were in constant touch with each other around the time the hotelier disappeared last month.
Rajeshwari and Navaneeth have been sent to police custody till August 12.