As land deal turns sour, best friends turn killers | delhi | Hindustan Times
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As land deal turns sour, best friends turn killers

delhi Updated: Apr 13, 2010 01:02 IST
HT Correspondent

Dinesh Sharma, 24, had two childhood friends — Rajneeh Sharma and Pankaj Bharadwaj. Sharma trusted them completely.

But Rajneesh and Pankaj didn’t trust him.

And that was the undoing of Sharma.

Soon after the trio were involved in a fraudulent property deal, Rajneesh and Pankaj, fearing that he would blow the whistle on them, lured Sharma away from his home, stabbed him to death and buried his corpse in a four-feet deep ditch at Ranhola’s S.V. Vidyalaya in west Delhi. This happened on March 20.

On March 22, Pankaj, who incidentally owned the school, was found hanging from the ceiling fan at his Indra Park residence. Police say Pankaj had hung himself for fear of being caught.

Three weeks after Sharma went missing from his Raj Nagar residence in southwest Delhi’s Palam village, his body was dug out.

“The school belonged to his childhood friend and business associate, Pankaj Bharadwaj,” said a senior police officer, adding that the third friend, Rajneesh, had been detained for questioning.

According to Sharma’s family, a sum of Rs 3.5 lakh —which the trio got after allegedly selling a piece of land on forged documents to a Haryana-based buyer — destroyed the friendship between the three friends who were part of the deal.

“I knew something was wrong when I saw Dinesh rush out of the house immediately after receiving a call from one of his friends on March 20,” said Shriram Sharma (27), Dinesh’s brother.

Shriram’s worst fears were confirmed when Sharma didn’t return home for two days. “I knew both Rajneesh and Pankaj — who were the thickest of friends with Dinesh — were behind his murder after they did not answer my calls once he went missing.”

Police suspect that things went awry between the childhood friends after the buyer they had duped got to know of their plan and confronted them.

“After their bluff was called, the buyer asked them to pay back his money before April 10 — failing which, he threatened to approach the police,” the officer said.