Her husband’s obsessive love smothered her.
A few hours after Holi celebrations ended, 25-year-old aspiring model Priyanka Kapoor was found dead in her south Delhi apartment, hanging from the ceiling fan of her bedroom.
“To marry him was the worst mistake of my life. The experience has been painful and I cannot take the beating anymore,” read the one-page note left behind by Kapoor early Friday.
Nitin Chawla, arrested on charges of dowry death, virtually held his wife prisoner in their Defence Colony home, police said.
She was not allowed to go out and if she did – to meet friends over a cup of tea – she used to be beaten up.
She rarely saw her parents, though they lived in neighbouring Gurgaon. They remained in touch over phone. And, when the parents didn’t hear from Kapoor on Holi, they got worried. They called her – she had two phone numbers — repeatedly but she was unreachable.
Worried, her mother called police and left for her daughter’s home. Around 12.30am on Friday, they were told that a woman had locked herself in a room, DCP (South) Prem Nath said. When a police team reached Kapoor’s home, her mother and Chawla were begging her to open the door.
She remained locked in for over 24 hours, refusing food. “The team broke open the door … and saw Priyanka hanging from the ceiling fan,” the DCP said. She was shifted to AIIMS, where she was declared dead.
There were fresh cut marks on her wrist, indicating she may have tried to bleed herself to death before the hanging, sources said.
During questioning, the 35-year-old Chawla, who owns pubs in Delhi and Chandigarh as well as a steel business, kept repeating he loved his wife very much, investigators told HT. He felt insecure about Kapoor meeting people and didn’t want her to step out of the house.
Kapoor was Chawla’s second wife, police said. He has a ten-year-old son and a daughter from his first marriage.
“She was happy when she married but a few days later, Nitin started beating her up,” Vijay, Kapoor’s friend, told HT. “That man was obsessed. She once stepped out from her home for tea and Nitin thrashed her. He used to lock her up and beat her up for hours.”
Chawla accepted assaulting his wife. He had to do it, as she was threatening to leave him, he told police. He wanted the custody of his son and wanted Kapoor to raise him.
Kapoor was not ready. “He said he wanted Priyanka to be a good housewife and always remain in the house, in front of his eyes,” a police source said. She was outgoing, career-oriented and had many friends but Chawla didn’t approve of it, the source said.
Chaw lat old police he couldn’t afford the rent of their apartment and wanted to move to his Meera Bagh residence with his parents but Kapoor refused. It led to an argument on Thursday, and he hit her when she threatened to leave.
Police have registered a case of dowry death and domestic violence against Chawla on the complaint of Priyanka’s sister Dimpy.