Man released from jail after 14 years for murder dumps children after reunion

Published - July 11, 2024 10:44 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Puja was five when her father, arrested for ‘murdering’ her step-mother, left her and her younger brother at an orphanage at Karimnagar in 2010. Fourteen years later, after he was released from Cherlapally prison for good behaviour, he picked them up from the place and left them home before he went to Hyderabad to marry another woman.

Puja, now in her final year of graduation, is back at the orphanage with her brother, Bunny, a second year Inter student.

Soma Saraiah was convicted for murdering his wife, Sathamma, at their residence in Jammikunta in February 2010. As per the court document of this case, he murdered her suspecting her fidelity after four months of living together. “He was married thrice before he started living with Sathamma. The children were from his previous wives, who left him because of his ill-treatment. His daughter was one of the prime witnesses in the case which secured his conviction to undergo life imprisonment,” read the court document.

He was among the 213 prisoners released for good behaviour by the government on July 4.

Puja, 19, and Bunny, 17, were overjoyed to see their father after 14 years, said Goparaju Veeraswamy, who runs Spandana Orphanage in Jammikunta. “They have been under our care and we watched them grow by taking care of them as our own. Saraiah came back to meet and pick them up on July 5, a day after he was released by the state government. I had taken them to meet Sariah about three times while he was in Warangal jail, located about 40 km from here, during mulaqat. However, they haven’t seen him in so long that they initially had trouble recognising him. They cried and hugged him as he assured to take care of them,” said Veeraswamy.?

As their residence in the village was about 10 km away from the orphanage, Veersawamy said that he requested and got them moved into a better place about half-a-kilometre away. “The children are fond of this place and their colleges are also located nearby,” he said, adding that he ensured that their house has groceries to last a month and the kids have their own bedding before he got them settled.?

As all seemed fine, Veeraswamy received a call from the accountant of Cherlapally prison asking him to send Sariah to collect ?10,000 of his earnings.

“I told the same to him and he told his children that he would be back in a few days after collecting the money. He then called Bunny on July 9 and tells him that it would take him a few months to come back home as he wants to find a job and a place for them to live in Hyderabad. He again calls Bunny that same evening to tell him that they should remove his name as their father from their legal documents and that he is marrying another woman in Hyderabad,” he added.

Both the calls came from different phone numbers and when dialled back, it turned out to be of strangers whose phone Sariah borrowed. “Shocked and embarrassed to share their plight with anyone, the siblings stayed home by themselves for two days before I checked on them. I called Bunny to check on them and they shared the entire episode. While we are more than happy to have them back, their feelings are badly hurt,” he concluded.

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