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Murderer Monday: “Beer Man”

Now most of these posts that I do feature murders that occurred 30-40 years ago. This week is different, as this killer operated between 2006 and 2007. I was around 10. This case is interesting because it is so speculative. Is it a whodunnit, or just a farce?

Beer Man is the name given to a suspected serial killer who murdered 7 people in Mumbai, India between October 2006 and January 2007. There was one link between the deaths that suggested it was the same killer. All the bodies were found on footbridges with beer bottles beside them.

Lack of Info:

There is not a lot of information known about this killer. I tried my best as you can see from the source list, but to little avail. It is thought that he was not poor. Although the victims were mainly homeless, the killer drunk beer out of cans which was not done by poor people. He is also thought to be young as he was able to overpower his victims. Perhaps he moved around in a car.

Recent forensic testing has determined that the killer was gay and had sex with at least 5 of his victims. The victims were also found stripped from the waist down. At the fourth murder scene, a note was found with very good english that read “welcome to the clan”. This suggests that the killer had a significant level of education.

Little is also known about the victims themselves as this case has not been widely covered in the media. All that is known is that they were all young men who were hit on the head and stabbed in the chest.

Prime Suspect:

In January 2008, several people came forward claiming that they were eye-witnesses. 36 year old Ravindra Kantrole was convicted after the death of a homeless man. His handwriting seemed to match the note and he confessed to murdering 15 people after questioning. Police were unable to identify who the other victims could have been. He was arrested after he was seen wearing a bloody shirt. Police subjected him to narco-analysis tests, and afterwards claimed he was uncooperative. Ravindra claimed he also made his victims drink beer before killing them.

He was also subjected to brain-mapping where police claimed that he showed signs of recognising the victim. However I believe this could have been a case of police wanting to convict him rather than acting objectively. Ravinda also swore that he was not gay, but rather hated homosexuals. He claimed that at this time he recently converted to Islam. This made him take it upon himself to eliminate these “deviants”.

Early Life:

Ravinda was born into a family of illegal immigrants. By the time he was 14, he was sleeping on the streets and sofa-hopping. “Rather be the raja (king) of the street than a ghulam (slave) in someone else’s house” he claimed. In his 20’s, he fell in love with a girl he met in a brothel. He managed to raise 25,000 rupees to pay the brothel, rented a small house, and they moved in together. They got married, and had a daughter, Deepa. Before he was arrested, he was a police informer with a supposed ‘clean’ record. He sent his family away when he was arrested so they would avoid the shame. They haven’t returned to Mumbai since.

Ravinda now has a new life. He sells sandwiches and snacks and is saving up for some tables and chairs outside. “This is my first real restaurant. Imagine, my restaurant”. He hopes to save and move back into a flat with his wife and daughter. He gets constantly recognised and believed to be Beer Man, the serial killer, despite the charges being dropped.

Arrest and Release:

He was originally charged with 2 other Beer Man murders and locked up. In later years he was cleared of any involvement upon further investigation. In later questioning he claimed he was a reformed man with a wife and kids. Ravindra was acquitted in 2009 due to a lack of evidence. Forensic tests that had been conducted on him were judged inadmissible. So was the eyewitness testimony of a person who said they had seen him for a few seconds and remembered his face months later. The 7 murders remained unsolved.

“Till now, we’ve carried around 900 people’s DNA and have got reports of around 200 that have come out negative,” said a police officer from Colaba. “We did not get any DNA from Jagruti Patel’s body, who was found murdered on November 13, as it was completely decomposed. But, we had retrieved the killer’s DNA from Karishma Chavan’s body, who was found killed on January 18. We have also found DNA from Angel Sharma’s body, who was found raped and murdered on April 19. But the samples collected from Chavan’s and Sharma’s bodies don’t match,” said the officer.

Is he guilty?:

Whilst this guy is known as “Beer Man”, only 3 of the bodies had beer cans left beside them. The newspapers latched onto this fact and claimed it was his signature. In March of 2008, 2 more similar murders had been committed in Mumbai. One survivor identified his attacker as Raja Gupta, not Ravindra. As the murders continue, police can not know whether the killer is responsible for more deaths. In each case, the modus operandis was slightly different. This has lead some to claim that “Beer Man” doesn’t even exist. Ravinda could also have been the victim of police brutality because he was an easy target. Or did he get away with murder, despite his confession?

“Every time there is a crime in the area, from a small theft to a murder, I am picked up for questioning. This, even though the court has acquitted me. For the police, I am the serial killer who got away”.

Check out my other Murderer Monday posts HERE: 



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