Police in southern India have arrested a 34-year-old woman and her lover for allegedly murdering her husband and disfiguring his face before throwing acid over her lovers face to try and pass him off as her husband.
Swathi Reddy and her lover Rajesh’s plan is believed to have been inspired by a Bollywood version of the Hollywood blockbuster Face Off.
The pair apparently told her dead husband’s parents that their son had suffered a horrific accident on November 26 and needed to be taken to hospital for facial reconstruction.
But after 11 days Sudhakar’s mum and dad got suspicious when they noticed his “mannerisms had changed” and informed the police.
Fingerprint checks revealed the burned man wasn’t Mr Reddy – but was in fact Rajesh posing as her husband – who had been buried in a forest.
Officials said police had charged Swathi Reddy with murdering her husband Sudhakar Reddy last Friday and will arrest her physiotherapist lover Rajesh Ajjakolu once he is discharged from hospital after undergoing treatment for facial burns.
According to police, Mrs Reddy had confessed to injecting her husband with an anaesthetic on 27 November and, after he lost consciousness, bludgeoning him to death with an iron rod with Mr Ajjakolu.
The pair then disfigured her husbands face and dumped his body in the nearby Nawabpet forest after partially burning it to prevent identification, investigating officer Inspector Srinivas Rao said.
Mrs Reddy, who is a trained nurse, then smeared Mr Ajjakolu’s face with a mixture of acid and petrol, partially disfiguring his face.
She then raised the alarm, saying four people had broken into her house and attacked Mr Reddy with acid.
Her lover masquerading as her husband, was then admitted to hospital in Hyderabad to undergo burns treatment and plastic surgery.
However, fearing exposure, Mr Ajjakolu pretended that he could not speak and communicated only through writing.
Police said Mrs Reddy’s in-laws were not convinced that Mr Ajjakolu was their son, especially after he declined mutton soup, having registered himself at the hospital as a vegetarian.
Other behavioural differences raised their suspicion and they filed a compliant with the police that the man admitted to hospital was not really their son.
According to Inspector Rao, Mrs Reddy continually changed her statement under sustained interrogation, further fuelling doubt over Mr Ajjakolu’s identity.
He said she eventually broke down and admitted that she was having an affair with Mr Ajjakolu, some months after beginning physiotherapy sessions at his clinic two years ago.
Mr Rao said Mrs Reddy and Mr Ajjakolu were spotted together in a car a few days before the alleged murder, and her husband accused her of having an affair.
Fearing they would be exposed, the lovers then hatched their bizarrely elaborate plan, hoping Mr Ajjakolu could undergo plastic surgery and emerge as Mr Reddy.
They also planned that he would take over Mr Reddy’s many properties and business interests.
Inspector Rao claimed that Mrs Reddy had confessed the plan and that the person admitted to hospital with facial burns was not her husband.