In an indictment of the security arrangements at city courts, a 25-year-old undertrial prisoner, who was due to be released on interim bail in just two days, was murdered around noon at the Rohini court complex on Wednesday morning. A family feud triggered by a love affair nearly five years ago led to the murder.
According to advocates, Naveen Khatri was being escorted to a courtroom to attend a hearing of a murder case around 12 noon when he was shot at twice in the chest. A constable was injured in the incident. Khatri was the prime accused in the murder case of one Sushil. Khatri was rushed to Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital and was declared dead on arrival.
The police have arrested the culprit. “We arrested the accused, identified as Mukesh, 19, from the spot. Several others, suspected of providing him support or involved in the episode in varying degrees, are being questioned,” said BS Jaiswal, deputy commissioner of police (outer).
Police said Mukesh belonged to the camp of one Ashwani, who was Khatri’s and his family’s enemy since 2008. The enmity was triggered when Sushil, one of Ashwani’s aides, married a woman with whom Khatri was in love. Angered, Khatri murdered Sushil in cold blood. Khatri was a resident of Narela in northwest Delhi.
Khatri’s killer, police claimed, adopted a unique method of smuggling the weapon of offence inside. He threw the weapon over the court wall overlooking the parking area inside the court premises, drove to that spot in his car, collected the weapon and loaded it in a toilet, before killing Khatri outside within minutes.
“We are examining whether the personal security officers (PSOs) assigned to Sushil’s mother — who is a witness in the case — helped him in smuggling the weapon inside the court premises,” said Jaiswal.
Lawyers said Khatri’s mother, who was outside the lock-up, had attacked her son’s assailants, but she was hit on the head with the butt of the pistol and fell unconscious.
Khatri’s advocate BS Rana, who is also the president of Rohini Bar Association, said, “There is no security inside the court complex. This incident strips bare the Delhi Police’s false claims of high security in district court complexes.”
According to sources, the district judge of Rohini court complex has called an urgent meeting with the various senior police officials regarding the security scenario inside the court.