Indian Police File Murder Charge After Times Describes Cover-Up

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The village of Peepli Khera, India, where a man has been charged in the death of his wife, Geeta.

Credit
Andrea Bruce for The New York Times

NEW DELHI — A man suspected of bludgeoning his wife to death in front of at least a dozen people has been charged with murder, after the killing in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh was described in an article in The New York Times.

The article, published last month with the headline “How to Get Away With Murder in Small-Town India,” described the death last year of a woman, Geeta, in the isolated hamlet of Peepli Khera. A neighbor said she had seen the victim cowering in a bathroom while her husband, Mukesh, brought a bamboo stick down on her, again and again. Geeta died on the spot.

Witnesses, among them a local political official and a constable, told The Times that police officers had investigated the killing but had quickly closed the case, releasing Mukesh after a few hours of detention. Several witnesses said they suspected that Mukesh’s family had bribed senior officers at the police station.

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A family photo showing Mukesh and Geeta.

After the case drew worldwide attention, however, Mukesh, who like many Indians uses only one name, was arrested and charged with murder on Saturday.

Pramod Gautam, the lead investigator at the police station in Kharkhoda, near the village, said on Monday that the case had been reopened after the district’s senior superintendent of police received a copy of the Times article and ordered an inquiry.

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