The true-crime Netflix series Indian Predator: Diary of a Serial Killer begins with a news report about police discovering a young man’s body. The victim’s “head and private parts were mutilated,” according to the authorities, and all of his clothing had been taken off. They later accused Raja Kolander (real name Ram Niranjan), who they believed to be responsible, of 14 murders as well as cannibalism. But when Kolander spoke with the Indian Predator movie’s creators more than 20 years later, he insisted on his innocence.
The investigation began when local journalist Dhirendra Singh vanished in Uttar Pradesh in December of 2000. Police tracked Singh’s mobile phone during their investigation and discovered a call was placed to a landline owned by Kolander and his wife, Phoolan Devi. Authorities found several skulls and bones, as well as a diary that contained graphic details of Kolander’s alleged cannibalism, after following leads to a Naini farmhouse.
Various accounts claim that Kolander would shoot his victims before dismembering their bodies. He is then said to have cooked and consumed some of the body parts, especially the brains, in the hopes that he would learn something from them and keep the skulls as mementos. Based on Kolander’s diary, police believed he was responsible for at least 14 murders (although several members of his family insisted in the Netflix documentary that claims of Kolander boiling and consuming human brains were untrue).
Kolander and his brother-in-law, Vakshraj Kol, were found guilty of killing Singh as a result of the evidence that was presented during their trial. According to the prosecution’s version of events, the two men killed the journalist to stop him from writing about Kolander’s illegal car business. Kolander was accused of cannibalism, but the case was never proven in court. Kolander and Kol were eventually sentenced to life in prison in 2012 after more than ten years behind bars.
“These people accuse me of 14 murders in total. In Indian Predator, Kolander—who was ultimately found guilty of three homicides—said, “All unsolved murders in Uttar Pradesh were heaped upon me. “I’ve maintained my innocence. I never made a public statement. The facts are being twisted by the police as they see fit. But nobody paid attention. They formed a plot against me. They asserted that I went on a killing spree and revealed the information so suddenly.
Kolander, his brother-in-law, and his wife are all currently incarcerated on life sentences, according to the Netflix documentary’s epilogue. However, he has appealed his convictions in higher courts, and they are still pending. In the three-part series, he said, “I don’t care if I’m released or not right now. “The accusations have been made, and when the decision is made [after appeals], I’ll leave. My spirituality is still available to me. Whether or not I am released from prison has no bearing on me.