Is it not intriguing to understand the human mind? Is it not rewarding for anyone who wants to change the society, uplift it even, to know about its fragilities? Is it not important to know the moral bindings that constitutional laws, religious definitions, and moral ethics, impart upon us? And more importantly, is it not our responsibility to understand that internally we are always revolting against these bindings? Perhaps this morbid thinking makes us deep dive into the psyche of the unknown and the undefined. And resulting from such depths are the factors which give us an understanding of the human mind like never before. Anatomy Of A Crime is a series which intends to deliver such an understanding.
In interviewing criminal minds, in trying to reconstruct the violent events, and in reliving the horrors, we confront a reality that is often swept under the mat of joyous, optimistic and utopian existence fed to us by various forms of art and media. We at VoxSpace believe in understanding the meaning of life in a totalitarian effect, by comprehensively studying its glory along with its subsistence, and the cruelty along with its harrowing acts.
The following article depicts extremely violent, graphic and disturbing literature. We urge our readers to exercise their own discretion in proceeding with it. The article stands to describe the events as they unfold in an uncensored manner, which might be unsuitable for young and impressionable minds. The views expressed by the people interviewed in this series are their own. VoxSpace does not in any manner, encourage, support or otherwise vouch for, the views expressed by the interviewees and other participants within the series. The incoherence in subject material within the articles, is a result of lack of cooperation, hostility and sometimes psychological frame of mind, in circumstances of which the interviews have been made. VoxSpace does not wish to claim them as editorial errors, or suppression of facts in any manner whatsoever.
Chapter One: The Crime Of Our Times – Introduction Of Rupesh
On July 3rd, 2016, Rupesh, a software engineer working with a regional database management services company, Helix Ltd, has a quarrel with his Congolese wife, Cynthia Vechel as soon as he returns home after work. The fights have been frequent these days, words are being exchanged quite often, respects and egos are being hurt repeatedly, and physical abuse has been picking up. Today was no different, given the circumstances. In the next few hours, pasts are dug up, and abuses become more definitive and specific. Cynthia blames Rupesh, of being a spendthrift and a cheat. Rupesh brings in Cynthia’s parentage and belonging, into the mix. Their shouts and quarrels wake up their 7-year-old daughter sleeping in her room, adjacent to the kitchen. Cynthia blames Rupesh for being an irresponsible father as soon as the daughter walks out of her room.
Rupesh, who by this time is quickly running out of excuses to explain his recent financial debacle in the stock market, retorts back by calling her names. The sight of his daughter, weirdly makes Rupesh even angrier. It was not just about making sense anymore. His daughter has been hearing about him, from her mother. And her mother has been painting a picture which would scathe the child forever. Rupesh feels a bit dizzy, as he clings on to a showcase rack beside him for support. His body is shivering, and the feelings inside him have long gone past anger or vengeance. He is numb now. From the first nerve to the last. He is numb.
By 3 AM, Rupesh starts chopping his wife, Cynthia Vechel, into pieces. He first starts with her ears, as he pinches her earflap and with a blade cuts through its base. They are soft and for some reason meaningful to start with. But blades won’t work for long, Rupesh realizes this as soon as he starts denting her nose and cutting through it. He needs an axe and long knife. Incidentally, and quite so mysteriously, he finds an axe in his storeroom and a short meat knife in the kitchen. Every cut has to be straight through. This helps with the packing. As he tries to look for a plastic bag which is big enough to contain the pieces of her, it then strikes him that they had recently bought a suitcase, which came packed in a plastic cover. He frantically searches for it. It is now that he realises that the suitcase is missing from the storeroom. He finds the new suitcase inside Cynthia’s almirah, with her clothes packed in. She was leaving. She was going to leave, run away, with that bastard, Daniel. This maddens Rupesh even further..
He now takes, only the axe, and madly starts chopping her into uneven pieces. The blood splatters all across the room, and his seven-year-old daughter stands to watch, appalled and stunned to the bone. Her father seemed angry, and she knew better than to talk to him when he was angry. Suddenly, he stops and lays down beside the rolling head of Cynthia. All the pieces of her are scattered across the room, mucous, traces of shit and blood fill the room with pungency. And for a moment, Rupesh seems normal. Rupesh seems a happy man.
As the day broke, by 9 AM, Rupesh was arrested by the Cyberabad Police on charges of the murder of his wife, Cynthia. As it turned out, Rupesh’s car got stuck in the mud, somewhere near Shamshabad, where he went to dispose of two bags of Cynthia’s chopped up body. As his car got stuck, he resorted to seeking help from the locals, who then suspected Rupesh’s behaviour and informed the local police. Within no time, Rupesh was arrested and sent to the Criminal High Court, Nampally. Later on, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and removed to Chanchalguda Jail, where he presently serves his period.
Chapter Two – Inside The Mind Of A Criminal – An Anatomy Of Anger
In February 2018, we at VoxSpace received a scoop, rather a suggestion, to follow the case of Rupesh. Close on the heels of the famous Netflix presentation MindHunters, we were reaching out to people, specifically psychologists, victims, reporters and police authorities, to provide us with cases we could do short films on. A blind mimicry of the success formula of MindHunters, was what we were looking for, basically. Of course, the concept in itself appealed directly to the melancholic ideology of the platform. As things progressed, and as people started speaking out, we received innumerable cases of crime. Each one of this case was unique in its own way and grotesque in its own manner.
Nothing was comparable or similar. Nothing was less important or less violent. Every case had to be understood from every viewpoint. At the outset, there was only blood and gore applicable to each crime. Behind the bones, there was a story which spoke about many questions, most of them unexplainable and a few never answered.
Our journey down this path thus began in the last week of February, where we took up the case of Rupesh. It took us one month more to get an appointment to talk to him. We weren’t allowed to publish the voice recordings of Rupesh owing to privacy and legal issues, and this article before publication was submitted to both Rupesh and Joint Commissioner Of Police for their approval and consent on publishing. And thus, our article starts almost a year and a half after Rupesh was arrested by the police in Shamshabad on suspicious activity and later charged with murder.
The following are the excerpts of interviews we could manage with Rupesh over the course of seven appointed meetings –
Do we have the consent to bring your story out Rupesh? Without your consent, we are not legally eligible to bring out whatever you speak to us today?
Did SP talk to you? If you had asked him, he will tell. I cannot interact with the press just like that. Please ask SP.
Yes, we have. He has provided us with consent. Would you?
He said ‘no problem’ or ‘okay’. He said ‘no problem’ means he won’t do anything after. He is happy only. But ‘okay’ is bad. It is injurious. You will face problems. What did he say? Exactly what he said you tell me!
He nodded his head. But we have the permits (as we show Rupesh our letter of consent). We need your consent as well.
(after slowly reading the letter, he lets out a smile) If everyone is ok, I am also ok. Is this is an interview on my case? You want to do interview on me?
Yes. We think your case will help others not commit a crime. We want to understand your thought process as well during the accident.
Let us begin with your relationship. Could you tell us about your relationship with your wife (we were earlier advised by the in-house psychiatrist not to take the name of the victim)?
Ok. Hmmm. She was a dancer in Congo. Like in 2008, I went to Congo. My company used to make, ERP solutions ok? You know ERP? Enterprise Resource Planning solutions, and my company,.. our company got the deal of implementing ERP program in one of the hotels in Congo. No..no..actually that was before. Hotels project was in 2006. In 2008 it was a local political party which was starting supermarkets in Brazzaville. I went there ok? So, there I was staying in Hotel which we had provided ERP before. So she used to work in Club, in the Hotel. In my six months, I liked her and we got married. She was nice. Nice lady with short hair. But she was good. Not like other women. We were married because we liked each other ok? But Congo is not a place to live in. We decided to come back to India. That is the problem, I think. I think so, if we stayed in Congo, we would be different people.
How would you describe your wife as? What was she like? Could you tell us more about her? And when you say ‘different people in Congo’ what do you mean?
Describe her? I liked her. She was black, fat and ugly. I like her still. Only those women are capable of liking someone, anyone. No one looks at them, ok? They don’t have the demand. Man is not attracted to them, no one is actually. So, I think they fall for anyone. Like she for me. These women, type of women who no one looks at, believe in love, relationships and loyalty. Till sometime, initially in the relationship, hmmm, like in the start it is good. Attention ok? Every man likes Attention. The ugly ones give you that. But after a point it is difficult. I am a good looking guy ok? I have many women wanting to be with me. I chose her. My wife, I chose her. In Congo, it was good. We were happy. She had her own friends, she won’t have to ask my time and attention. She has her own home as well, ok? Even if she has problems, with me, hmmm…I think I am the reason for fights. We lived in Gachibowli before she “passed away”.
In your attested report, it is indicative of your confession that according to you, whatever happened was an accident? Would you want to talk something on that?
Yes, it was an accident. I, she, ok? I throttled her, before. She lives. I throttled her, for the same time, but this time, she dies. It is an accident obviously. That is what I told the police as well, and this report (he points at the file on the table) is the same. She didn’t cry, no. She was smiling, I think, even when I had her neck in my hand. I don’t know much about women. They keep smiling? Why? Even the ugly ones? She was smiling too. I mean before I struck her, she was smiling. She wasn’t after I dropped her on the floor. I say to myself ‘I am sorry, but you did this. It was so simple. We were happy’. Do you understand? Do you know her? You don’t know right? She is a happy person. She is also very angry sometimes.
We were more inclined towards knowing the reasons of your act? Plainly speaking, why that specific day? What were the reasons behind your quarrel that day?
Hmmm, actually I don’t remember. Yeah, I don’t remember.
Would you not want to share it with us? Is that the problem?
I don’t, yes. No one understands. So yes, I don’t want to share it. I don’t know you people.
Right. Fair enough. Could you help us understand then at least?
Understand what? Our relationship, between me and my wife. You think by knowing about me and my wife, you will know the reason for whatever happened. I think that is stupid, ok? I also think that it is being a coward. You won’t know, and then you will make an assumption. A safe assumption your mind will bring up to you. You have factors like you talk to me, and you understand what I might have done. That is wrong ok? You don’t know me. She knew me. That’s why you’ll never, hmmmm, understand us.
Of course. Can we talk about your daughter Nimmi, who was seven years old when this happened?
Nimmi? Have you brought Nimmi to visit? (we shake our heads to say No. He goes blank for a second, just staring at the wall behind us). She can’t come also? She is mental now. She doesn’t identify me anymore. I was told that she didn’t speak for the next six months. I have sympathy on the girl. She is smart, and a good singer also….
When was the last time you met her? What do you feel when she comes visiting?
Two months back. My brother’s family is taking care of her. But they are poor. They will take care of her, until I pay their bills, and drop in 10,000 every month. So now, they are sending her to a boarding school. She doesn’t speak, and is not playful like other kids. I think she is weak in her mind. I think she will always be a bit mental. Even my grandmother ok? She used to be like her. She was rash, violent and mental when she grew old. My Nimmi will become like that only. But hey we can’t do anything about it ok? So why worry?
Chapter Three – Inside The Mind Of A Criminal – Anatomy Of Self Respect
In this report, we are told that you had several fights with your wife, over financial issues for over a period of six months? Could you tell us more about it? Also, Nimmi, your daughter says in this report that you would ask her to come out of her room, and forcefully watch your fight. She goes on to say that you shouted at her to stay while you slapped your wife? Is that true?
Nimmi says that? My Nimmi says that? Why? She should not have. I am her father ok? I like my girl. No questions there. She is my little girl. Hmmmm…she saw us fighting yes. But I asked her to stay? I don’t know. Maybe once, I think. One time only, and she is saying like this. Her mother, my wife, was making Nimmi turn against me. She is a child, she doesn’t understand. My wife does not know this. She thinks Nimmi can understand things. She is a kid yes? She is nine years old now. She doesn’t know why we fight? She will be scared in her room, hearing only voices and screams. Why is it required? That is why I asked her to come and stay. I was hoping that, looking at her face, Cynth…my wife, would stop screaming. I did it to make her part of the family, and not to have her watch us fighting. That is wrong. Very very wrong.
…..And the slapping in front of her? Do you think that is correct?
As I was saying, it was only once. My wife was getting out of control, so I had to slap her. Nimmi was in the other room, she was watching TV or playing in her phone, I don’t know. She was doing something. So I asked her to come. Nimmi is a good girl, but she needs to understand fear. How will I control her if she is not afraid? So I asked her to come. I then slapped my wife, while making Nimmi look. She needs to understand right? She needs to see what happens if she doesn’t obey. I don’t think my wife would say it is wrong. I am not hitting the girl. Just showing what is happening and what will world treat her as. Hmmmm….she is strong because of me. She knows.
Have you ever physically punished your daughter, to maybe make her obey?
Oh no no. Nimmi? Not at all. I like her. She is a good child. I used to take care of her homework also. I never hit her. When she didn’t do her homework also, I would just not give her food for that day. My wife she was more violent. Nimmi told you what she would do? Once I came back home, and was asking my wife about Nimmi. She was nowhere in the house. After half an hour, my wife told me that she had locked up Nimmi in one of our washrooms. Since morning. How can she be so cruel about a little girl? She was crying when I picked her up. Hmmm…so no, I never, like injured you know. Nimmi is a good child.
While we are on the topic how would you say the relationship between Nimmi and your wife was?
My wife hated her I think. She didn’t want her even before her birth. Yeah. Hmmmm…she used to say to me, ‘you like Nimmi more than me, you like Nimmi more than me’. Again a reason for fight. She fought on this reason also. Nimmi was her daughter too. How can she talk about her like that? She took care of Nimmi because she had to. That’s all. I used to come home, check if anything happened to Nimmi and sleep. I was afraid for her. Sometimes Nimmi was also afraid. Then I used to sleep with Nimmi, in her room. This made my wife, you know, angrier the next day. It seems she saw me sleeping naked in the room. That is how I sleep ok? I don’t know what she thought but by the time she passed away she was angry about everything. I feel sometimes, it is good. It is better that she is no more. She was uncontrollable.
Chapter Four – Inside The Mind Of A Criminal – Anatomy Of Violence
When you repeatedly say ‘passed away’, are you implying that you had nothing to do with her death? Is that what you are saying because the file clearly says that you had confessed to committing the crime?
Hmmmmmm. Yes. She died. She made the choice. I just obeyed her wish. You know, these women cannot be trusted. They will say something and do something else. So that day, she could’ve been silent ok? If she wanted to run away with Daniel, she could have gone. Why stay in the home? I will tell you the reason. She didn’t want to go, she wanted to threaten me with leaving our home. I think she also wanted to take Nimmi away. She wanted to fight ok? She was right, and I was wrong, she wanted to prove that. Otherwise how can she leave? It will hurt her ego ok? That is what, I hate her for that. She is always fighting with me, for not being like her. So, I didn’t kill her. She made me do it. Maybe, she was waiting for it to happen also. Who knows?
(There were several moments of silence here. What we talked or asked seemed distant to Rupesh. He seemed to have been lost in thoughts beyond him. He didn’t seem to bother. At times, he would look at us and smile, and then obscurely enough, keep staring at the file in front of him. Was he thinking about her, his wife. Or were his thoughts fixated upon himself, as had been the case over the interview? Or did we just push him a bit too much? All we could do was wait for him to respond. To get him talking we needed to ask him a question which made sense to the narcissist personality of his. As it turned out, we didn’t have to….)
When the police arrested you the next day, it is reported here that some body parts of your wife, were not found in the bag? Could you talk about that?
I ate her ears and breasts……
Okay. Coming to the crime itself, what would you say is the reason that prompted you to chop your wife into unrecognizable pieces?
….flushed her fingers in the bathroom. One finger, I think it was left index finger, I gave Nimmi to keep it with her. The child was not speaking anything. She was sad, I think. So I thought, this will keep her happy. It was difficult to cut her into proper pieces. She was a strong woman with thick black skin. But she was dead. Ofcourse, I thought if I could throw her away in different ponds, Police won’t find me. I decided to cut her then. First ears, but immediately after cutting them, blood came gushing out. Hence, the pillows. I placed a pillow below her head, and turned her body to a side, covering one of her ears with the pillow’s surface. Then for eyes, I thought I can use a normal blade. My hand was shivering too much to cut through it, so I chose a fork from the kitchen. After plucking the eyeballs out, I clipped out the fingers. She was wearing a ring in one of her fingers. So they could, hmmmmm, Police can find fingerprints ok? So I chopped off the fingers and flushed them along with her eyes. Then I took the meat knife and brought out three suitcases from the storeroom.
The meat knife is helpful ok? So, I tore apart her dress and cut through her legs vertically. Because the legs were not detaching off from the body, I had to use the hammer there. After multiple hits to the thigh bone, the legs easily came off. I again had to break them into smaller pieces along the bone to fit into the suitcase. Her head was tough. I had to smash the hammer into her neck, to make it into a pulp, and then chop it off. Head and legs went packed into one suitcase, and her abdomen, hands into another. Her dress and jewellery into the remaining suitcase. After packing, I had to clean the whole house with a mop. Nimmi went to sleep at that time.
One suitcase, I threw off in Pragathi Nagar lake, and the other I wanted to go to Gandipet. There was patrolling there. So I couldn’t go. Then, I wanted to go to Shamshabad, and dispose off the remaining two suitcases on the Bangalore highway somewhere. And here I am. Enough? Want else do you want to know?
Lastly, do you feel guilty about anything at all?
I was guilty of not being a man. If I was that, from the start, I wouldn’t be here. As a man, you want to tell everything to your wife ok? I also did. I told her about my businesses and my investments. I told her about my affairs and accidents. She would hear me properly. But fight on it sometime later. Why? They call it practicality, but what about privacy and loyalty. She told Daniel about my investments as well. He came to my office asking about that. Why should she tell him? Hmmmm, she was a wrong woman. A man should only share information, as long as it cannot be used against him. She was weak and strong at the same time. But because of her Nimmi lost a parent ok? So I just asked her why she did it? She said she wanted to help through Daniel. Who is this woman, who thinks I need help with my business? So when you do such things, you have to pay the price ok?
Thus came to an end, an interview which held the potential to scar anyone trying to understand it. A man blinded by his own limitations stopped being a human when the violence in him took over. Why do criminals become what they are? Perhaps it is because they start looking at the society we live in, in a different manner altogether. To them, the reality of a society is what they think makes sense. As Rupesh carries on with his life imprisonment, with absolute conviction in his mind that he is free from any guilt, we take a look at one more interview. The Railway Rapist shall be talking to you soon.
(…….To Be Continued In Anatomy Of A Crime Part 2.)