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'My son was just helping his cousin'

A week after her son was arrested for providing shelter to his cousin, who is accused of killing Neetu Solanki, Naveen Shokeen's mother shudders at the mere mention of Raju Gehlot's name. Jatin Anand reports.

delhi Updated: Mar 06, 2011 00:14 IST
Jatin Anand

A week after her son was arrested for providing shelter to his cousin, who is accused of killing Neetu Solanki, Naveen Shokeen's mother shudders at the mere mention of Raju Gehlot's name.

"Naveen isn't here. I don't know where he is, but he is certainly not at home. Please leave us alone. We are not the criminals. My son was just helping his cousin," said the elderly woman, who claimed to be in her early 60s, as she peers through the designer gaps in the heavy black iron gate below her pristine three-storey residence in west Delhi's Nangloi.

The younger sister of Raju Gehlot's father, the aging woman, who refused to be identified, said her son Naveen was the only one Gehlot could have depended on. "They were very close to each other when they were growing up. It was only natural for him to have stepped forward and tried to help him. But Raju had severed contact with each one of us since he got a job with an airline in Bangalore in 2009, including Naveen. But when he called that night, Naveen saw that Raju had no option and consented to help him. Now the shame that he has brought upon our family is falling on all our heads," she said.

Employed with an airline and posted in Bangalore since late 2009, Gehlot is accused of murdering his 29-year-old girlfriend Neetu Solanki.

Solanki's body was recovered from a black carrybag found abandoned at the New Delhi Railway Station early on the morning of February 11.

The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police had apprehended Shokeen for harbouring Raju first on February 13 and subsequently for six days between February 19 and 25.

"We are conducting raids at several places in the Capital to apprehend Gehlot. A lookout notice has also been issued in his name. We'll nab him soon," said Ashok Chand, deputy commissioner of police (crime).