Gujarat man, who evaded arrest for 15 years after killing wife, escapes again
The man, who allegedly killed his wife on a Valentines Day 20 years ago, jumped his temporary bail granted by the high court in July this year
A man from Gujarat, who evaded arrest for 15 years after allegedly killing his wife on a Valentines Day 20 years ago, has escaped again jumping his temporary bail granted by the high court, prompting a court in Ahmedabad to issue a non-bailable warrant against him. Meanwhile, a police officer aware of the matter said that a lookout circular would soon be issued to find out whether the accused has flown out of the country using a fake identity and passport.
The man, Tarun Jinaraj, 47, has been accused of strangling his 26-year-old wife, Sajni Krishnan, on April 14, 2003, just three months after their marriage. Jinaraj, who worked as a basketball coach at a school, killed his wife allegedly to pursue a relationship with his girlfriend from before his marriage.
After the alleged murder, Jinaraj successfully evaded capture by assuming a new identity.
“He not only entered a new marriage but also made Bengaluru his home, living there with his second wife and their two sons. He also went abroad twice,” said an official.
“His efforts to remain in hiding for 15 years involved erasing his original identity and adopting a new one. Jinaraj allegedly stole his friend and former hostel mate Pravin Bhateley’s identity using his documents and then started living as Bhateley and settled in Bengaluru. In a bid to maintain this ruse, Jinaraj even worked alongside Bhateley for several months,” said the official.
He was eventually traced and arrested in 2008 in Bengaluru, the official added.
After the murder, he had initially tried to make it appear as though the act was committed by burglars, according to police.
The police said that when suspicion squarely fell upon Jinaraj during their murder investigation, he swiftly absconded, having first withdrawn money from Sajni’s account.
The police officials visited Jinaraj’s mother Annama Chako at her home in Madhya Pradesh and found that she received calls from a landline number registered in Bengaluru and a mobile number registered in the name of his current wife.
After his arrest in October 2018, the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), the team that successfully unraveled the case, brought Jinaraj back to Ahmedabad on a transit remand. He had been lodged in the Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad since then.
However, he made several attempts to obtain his release on bail during the five years in jail.
He petitioned the sessions court requesting temporary bail to address the financial challenges faced by his mother. He argued that someone had defrauded his mother of ₹24 lakh, and he needed to be with her to help her.
In April, the lower court dismissed his request for temporary release, as the prosecution argued that granting him temporary freedom might lead to his evading the course of justice.
Subsequently, in May, he turned to the Gujarat high court.
During his bail plea arguments in the high court, the prosecution asserted that Sajni’s murder was a pre-planned one committed by her husband. However, Jinaraj’s lawyer tried to establish his alibi, submitting that the murder happened when he had gone to meet his brother and then to purchase a cake and a teddy bear on February 14, 2003. The state government submitted before the court that Jinaraj had erased his identity and assumed a new one to remain absconding for 15 years.
The high court on July 20 granted him a two-week temporary bail, commencing from his release date from jail, after he pleaded that he required to travel to Bengaluru to access his provident funds.
He was subsequently released on conditional bail on August 4, 2023. Under the terms of his bail, he was mandated to keep local police officials informed about his whereabouts in Karnataka and was required to make bi-weekly visits to the nearest police station throughout his bail period.
However, he seized the opportunity to escape again.
“A metro court in Ahmedabad has issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Jinaraj on Monday (September 18). We were informed by the court that the accused has jumped his temporary bail,” said Bhadrish Raju, an advocate representing the victim’s parents.