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Padmapriya: MLA says his friend has coerced his wife

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June 16, 2008 20:02 IST

The mystery over the death of Padmapriya, wife of Karnataka BJP MLA B Raghupathy Bhat, deepened on Monday with the legislator accusing his friend of "coercing" her even  as the state Home Minister maintained that it was a case of suicide after kidnap.

The post-mortem on the body of the 33-year-old woman, a mother of two children, was conducted at the Safdarjung Hospital and the body was later taken to AIIMS for embalming so that it could be flown to Udupi for last rites.

Padmapriya, who was missing from Udupi since June10, was found hanging in an apartment in south-west Delhi's Dwarka area on Sunday morning after personnel of Delhi Police and their Karnataka counterparts broke open the door of the flat.

"It is a suicide. I had gone to the flat after getting information that she was there. I went to persuade her. Policemen broke open the door in my presence. I trust her, I love her (even now). My friend Atul has somehow coerced her. She is not a woman of that type. I repeat that she is not like that. Our lives were good," Bhat told reporters.

State Home Minister V S Acharya, who is in New Delhi for an official meeting, said it was a "clear case" of suicide and they were sad that it happened despite their best efforts to rescue her.

He said they were an affectionate couple and their relationship was "very good" as he knew them for the last 10 years.

"I don't know under what circumstances this has happened. Anyway, it looks like she was kidnapped from Udupi and kept here. All these have to be investigated in both ends (Udupi and Delhi)," Acharya said.

Padmapriya had gone missing as she left her house in Udupi on the morning of June 10 and the car in which she was travelling was found abandoned near Kunjarugir hills. The police found the car reportedly driven by her on June 13.

The Karnataka police found the keys of the vehicle, broken glass bangles, cash, a mobile phone and tablets inside the vehicle.

The woman's mother-in-law Saraswathi had filed a missing person complaint with Udupi police. The Karnataka police had set up five special teams to trace Padampriya who had gone missing since June 10.

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