The Nazrethpethai police arrested the husband of TV presenter and actor VJ Chitra, Hemnath, on Monday, on charges of abetment to suicide. Hemnath was subsequently lodged at the Ponneri jail on Tuesday. VJ Chitra was found dead at a hotel in Nazrethpethai nearly a week ago, where Hemnath, a Chennai-based businessman, was also staying.
Vijayaraghavan, Inspector of Police at Nazrethpethai, told Silverscreen India, “We have lodged Hemnath at the Ponneri jail on charges of abetment of suicide. We have not received the autopsy reports yet and for now, we are treating it as a case of suicide.”
Hemnath has been booked under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
VJ Chitra, who played the character ‘Mullai’ in Pandian Stores, was last seen by Hemnath when she returned to her hotel room after shooting, in the early hours of December 9. She was subsequently found hanging from the ceiling fan in the bathroom. The police were called at around 3.30 am on Wednesday.
Following the death, a probe was initiated by the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO). A probe is mandatory if a woman dies within seven years of marriage. Chitra’s family had also filed a complaint with the police, and had alleged that Hemanth had been physically violent towards Chitra.
According to a report by The Times of India, the police have disclosed that during questioning, Hemnath confessed to arguing with Chitra, particularly over the shooting of intimate scenes with certain male actors. Reportedly, Hemnath suspected that she was becoming close to them, and that anger over these allegations led Chitra to lock herself in and end her life.
The pair had a registered marriage in October and a wedding ceremony was scheduled for next year.
Chitra’s body had been sent to Kilpauk Medical College hospital for post-mortem investigations, and the police had confirmed that she died by committing suicide.
Chitra, popularly known as Chithu, worked as a TV presenter and rose to prominence after she began acting in Tamil TV serials, including for a small role in the hit Tamil serial Saravanan Meenatchi’s second season. She is best known for playing the role of ‘Mullai’ in the ongoing Vijay TV serial, Pandian Stores.
Chitra’s last social media post was on the evening of December 8 — a selfie with a heart-eyed emoji, taken at a photo shoot.