Rajat Menon’s family is shocked. Their son had a cup of tea and left home with a promise that he would be back in an hour as he had to work on his school project. A few hours later, they found him lying lifeless in Lal Bahadur Shastri hospital. What led to his death is still unclear and has left even the police puzzled.
The police say Menon had a minor scuffle with the two paan masala sellers, both juveniles, and his body had no external injuries that may have led to his death. But the 15-year-old victim’s family alleged a larger conspiracy.
“If it was just a fist-fight, then how did he collapse. Why are the police trying to cover up for the paan sellers? Has anyone ever died just because of a minor scuffle? Menon has been murdered,” a relative told HT.
The teenagers, who had rushed him to the hospital after he collapsed, were arrested soon after. They told the police that Menon used to tease them and they fought often. But it never escalated to this level, they said. They were clueless about why Menon died.
According to sources, the teenagers told the police that Menon owed them some money which he was not returning. They had stopped him to settle to the matter. “They said that they knew each other from a long time and often had arguments. They said that the argument turned into a scuffle after Menon threatened them that he will report the matter to the police and got them arrested,” a police source said.
Menon’s family hails from Kerala.
Chairman of the Delhi Malyali Association, Sri Raj, alleged that the two paan sellers sold marijuana to many people in the locality and that they had complained about their misbehaviour to the police earlier too. “The police have connived with them as they are being given a cut from the profit they make. They are saying Menon took a packet from them without paying, which is not the truth. These paan sellers had even molested a local woman but the police did not register a case. These men should be brought to book,” Raj alleged.
Rajan’s father Unnikrishnan Menon works as a general manager at a private firm in east Delhi.
The police, however, rejected the allegations of a cover up.
“These are baseless allegations. We have not received any such complaints in the past. Also why would the police cover up? The parents suspected it to be a case of murder so we registered a case under 302 (murder) and swiftly apprehended the teenagers involved. The investigation in the case is on,” a senior police officer said.