Fourty-year-old Bhupender alias Monu, who was gunned down inside his car in outer Delhi’s Paschim Vihar on Sunday night, had fallen for his best friend’s cousin and married her in 2006, much against her family’s wishes.
Police said that they have launched a probe to find out if or not the marriage had led to Monu’s brutal murder or whether a possible rivalry with some other gangs led to the killing.
What is certain though, is that marriage with a girl from his own village had left Monu a constant target of honour killing attempts.
Monu and Sonu, residents of Dariyapur village in outer Delhi, were close friends since childhood. Monu was into finance and real estate business. Sonu too ran his own business, even as the two friends faced a host of criminal charges against them.
It was in 2006 that Monu took a liking for Sonu’s cousin, Rajrani. Their friendship was opposed by Rajrani’s family, but the couple went ahead and tied the knot.
“Since the bride and groom belonged to the same village, many people were of the opinion that Rajrani was technically Monu’s sister. The relationship had left Sonu the most bitter, but he decided to live with it,” said a police officer.
But a few weeks after the wedding, an argument between the two friends turned ugly when Monu allegedly teased Sonu that he was now his ‘saala’ (brother-in-law). Sonu took offence to the comment and started looking for an opportunity to kill the couple.
A few months later, as Monu and Rajrani were driving in a car in west Delhi, Sonu and his men allegedly targeted them near the Punjabi Bagh Flyover. The assailants fired multiple shots at the couple before fleeing. Monu was hit four times and his wife twice, but both survived.
Sonu and nine others were subsequently arrested and jailed on charges of attempt to murder. “When Sonu was being taken to jail, he had threatened that he would kill the couple the day he was freed,” a close friend of Monu told HT on Monday.
Since Monu and his wife continued to receive threats in the months after the attack, they sought police protection which was granted to them by a city court. “The security was allotted to all the family members who were a witness in the attempt to murder case. But the policemen were taken off often without any reason, leaving Monu exposed to attacks,” alleged Vishal Chopra, Monu’s lawyer.
A year later, Sonu was granted interim bail. He used the opportunity to go underground. “In 2008, Sonu shot dead my other son Sudhir in Najafgarh. He wanted to kill our entire family because of the marriage between Monu and Rajrani,” alleged Monu’s father Phool Singh.
On Sunday night, Monu, his friend Arun, along with two policemen guarding them, were attacked by unidentified assailants in Paschim Vihar. According to MN Tiwari, DCP (outer), the first needle of suspicion pointed towards Sonu because of the history he shared with the family.
“But we are keeping ourselves open to other possibilities as well,” said the DCP, adding Monu’s rivalries with other gangs in the area as well as his involvement in land disputes are also being probed.