Start-up CEO son’s murder appears pre-planned, accused undergoes psychological test: Cops


PTI, Jan 10, 2024, 8:46 PM IST

Accused Suchana Seth in police custody (Credit: PTI)

Panaji: Two empty bottles of a cough syrup were found in a Goa apartment, where a start-up CEO allegedly killed her minor son, indicating she may have given a heavy dose of the medicine to him in signs of a premeditated murder as she was subjected to psychological test to assess her mental state and help find the motive for the gruesome crime, said police on Wednesday.

The post-mortem has revealed the four-year-old child was smothered to death either with a piece of cloth or a pillow, as per police officials.

The accused woman, Suchana Seth (39), allegedly killed her son in a service apartment at Candolim in Goa and stuffed the body in a bag before taking it to neighbouring Karnataka in a taxi on Monday, the police said.

She was arrested from Chitradurga in Karnataka on Monday night and brought to Goa on Tuesday. Seth, who has told interrogators about her troubled marriage, is in police custody for 6 days, but officials were yet to find the motive behind the murder.

A senior police officer told PTI that during the inspection of the service apartment room where the woman stayed along with her son for a few days, they found two empty bottles (one big and another small) of a cough syrup.

”The post-mortem conducted on the body has indicated the possibility that the child might have been smothered to death and there were no signs of struggle. We are examining the possibility if the woman gave a heavy dose of cough syrup to the child before putting him to death,” the official said.

Enquiries with the service apartment staff revealed the woman had asked them to buy a small bottle of a cough syrup for herself, he said, adding the bigger bottle might have been carried by her.

”It looks like a pre-planned murder,” the official said.

The accused also tried to commit suicide by slashing her left wrist, the police said earlier.

According to police sources, the accused has denied her involvement in the crime during the interrogation and claimed the child was already dead when she got up from sleep.

”We don’t buy her theory. Further investigation will reveal the motive behind killing the child. As of now, we know that she and her husband were estranged because of which she might have done this,” a senior police official said.

The police took Seth, booked for murder and destruction of evidence, to the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour near Panaji and got psychological medical examination conducted on her.

”We are waiting for the report. The check-up was a part of regular protocol that is followed after arrest of an accused,” the official said.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said the state police will take the case to a logical end.

Talking to reporters, Sawant said a team led by Superintendent of Police (North Goa) Nidhin Valsan has been following the case meticulously.

”The accused has been arrested. We will take the case to its logical conclusion,” the chief minister asserted.

Seth, who heads an artificial intelligence start-up, checked in the service apartment on January 6 and stayed there till January 8 before leaving for Bengaluru in a taxi.

Following her arrest, a court in Mapusa town near Panaji on Tuesday remanded her in police custody for 6 days.

The child’s father, Venkat Raman, who was in Jakarta (Indonesia), reached Hiriyur in Chitradurga on Tuesday night and took possession of his son’s body.

”He was strangled to death or what we call smothering. Either a cloth or a pillow was used. The child died due to strangulation. It doesn’t look like the child was strangulated using hands. It looks like a pillow or some other material was used. The rigor mortis (postmortem muscle stiffness) had resolved in the child,” Hiriyur Taluk Hospital’s administrative officer Dr Kumar Naik told reporters.

The accused has told the police that she and her husband were estranged and their divorce proceedings were currently underway.

Seth is the CEO of ‘The Mindful AI Lab’, and according to her LinkedIn profile, she is an AI ethics expert and data scientist with over 12 years of experience in mentoring data science teams, and scaling machine learning solutions at start-ups and industry research labs.

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