A day after the Delhi Police lost all hope despite best efforts and cremated the body of a woman for want of a bonafide claimant, an aging man from a village in southwest Delhi, clutching a Hindi newspaper in his wrinkled hands, begged them for her ashes on Thursday morning.
Though the police refused to divulge the claimant's identity, officers investigating the case admitted that he seemed to have the most plausible story and hence happened to be the most genuine claimant to have approached them thus far.
"He was in his early fifties and went to the Sabzi Mandi mortuary to claim the ashes of the mysterious 22-year-old woman, who was dumped at the New Delhi Railway Station two weeks ago. When asked to establish his identity, the man produced documents which state that he stays in west Delhi's Nawada village near Uttam Nagar," said a senior police officer from the investigation team.
Sources said the man had claimed that the victim was his elder daughter and had eloped with a man from their locality in mid-December last year.
"According to him, his daughter had taken the step after he objected to their match. She had fled her family home and was staying at a rented accommodation somewhere in central Delhi's Paharganj area with the man," the officer said.
Police said they had examined as many as 700 guesthouses and hotels located within a five kilometer radius of the spot where the said woman's body was recovered from a black carry bag dumped at the New Delhi Railway Station on February 11 but were still looking for clues leading to her murderer(s).
"We are verifying the said man's claims. As many as 75 people have made enquiries about the identity of the victim till date. Five of these enquiries were made after she had been cremated. He's just one of them. It is still a blind murder case that can only be solved after the perpetrators of the crime are apprehended," the officer added.