A day after a highly decomposed, half burnt body of an unidentified youth was found in a nursery near Khan Market, the Delhi police claimed to have not only identified the victim but also the killer.
Police said they have arrested Neeraj (who goes by a single name), 21, for the murder of his friend and bete noire Atul, 15.
The two friends, the police said, shared a love-hate relationship with the accused blaming the victim for all the trouble the former got into off late. Neeraj told the police that Atul and his teenage friends also allegedly bullied him.
Atul's mother and younger brother identified his body with the help of a pair of slippers. Also, a CCTV footage from one of the cameras installed in the market shows that the victim was last seen with Neeraj, the police said. He was killed on the night of April 10.
Neeraj told the police he strangled Atul in the nursery with a plastic rope after convincing the victim to join him for drinks. The victim's father didn't approve of Atul spending time with Neeraj and had even reprimanded his son for smoking.
Taj Hasan, joint commissioner of police (central range), said Neeraj had started resenting Atul who, along with his juvenile friends, used to bully him constantly.
"Neeraj said Atul, though much younger than him, was sort of a leader among the teenagers from the locality and used to bully and harass him regularly," said Hasan, adding Atul had also forcibly taken Neeraj's mobile phone and despite repeated request, he hadn't returned it.
A recent incident of Atul spreading a rumour about Neeraj having Rs. 5 lakh reportedly triggered the assault.
Police said Neeraj had found a bag with Rs.5,000 in it but Atul told everyone that the bag had Rs.5 lakh. "Atul and other boys starting harassing him, asking him to share the money with them. Neeraj was also subjected to sustained interrogation by some policemen after they learnt that he had such a huge amount of money. Neeraj believed that all his troubles were created by Atul and that he had to get rid of him," said the officer.
After killing Atul, Neeraj maintained a low profile but on the night of April 17 he returned to the nursery with a motive to burn the body that had already started emitting a foul smell. Neeraj poured petrol on the decomposed body and set it on fire.