A teacher-turned-serial killer was nabbed for murdering 18 women for "carnal pleasures and money". Mohan Kumar, 46, of Kanyana village in Dakshina Kannada district confessed to the crimes, police said.
Mohan lured women from the lower middle class into a love pact and took them to different places like Bangalore, Mysore, Hassan and Madikeri. After a "one night stay", he would make them consume cyanide, which he claimed was a contraceptive pill to prevent pregnancy, and kill them.
Ten of his victims were killed at Mysore bus stand, two each at Bangalore and Hassan bus stands, three in Madikeri bus stand and one in Kollur temple in Udupi district.
IGP (Western range) Gopal Hosur said that after having sex in a lodge, Mohan would ask the girl to keep her jewellery in the lodge. "He would then ask her to accompany him to a temple where he would marry her. But before that, he would make the girl consume cyanide in the bathroom of the bus stand and wait there for three minutes to ensure his victims never returned. He would then rush back to the lodge, pick up the jewellery and return to his home in Deralakatte near Mangalore," he said.
Mohan has two wives and four children in Uppala in Kasargod district and Deralakatte in Buntwal taluk.
Mohan, who was a government primary school teacher for 23 years, made his first "amorous advances" towards Rathna in 2000. He had asked her to marry him. But when she refused, he tried to push her into the Netravati River. However, onlookers nabbed him and handed him over to the police. Mohan was acquitted as there was no evidence to nail him.
Emboldened by his first victory, Mohan started stalking young women at temples, shops and marriage halls in small towns in Dakshina Kannada and Kasargod districts.
Chief investigating officer (Puttur) Chandragupta said prima facie, most of these cases looked like some dejected women had committing suicide at the bus stand. "In the course of time, investigations were closed. But I had a hunch when we received the case of a missing girl called Anita, who was Mohan's 13th victim. Anita was murdered on June 17," he said.
"On investigation, we realised that several calls from a number had been made to the phones of other missing girls as well," said, SP (Dakshina Kannada) A Subramanyeshwara Rao, adding that the police recovered the mobile phone used by Anita.
"Finally, a police team traced the person using a mobile phone belonging to one of the missing girls. That person had told the police that Mohan had given him the phone. This helped us zero in on Mohan," he said.