An alleged criminal and his associate were found murdered by members of a rival gang, for reportedly demanding protection money from them, in west Delhi’s Moti Nagar.
The semi-naked bodies of Gulzar, alias Babu, and Anil Shah, 39, with their faces disfigured beyond identification were discovered at an isolated plot near Zakhira bus stop on January 12.
Four persons were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the double murder case. The identities of the deceased remained a mystery for over a week, as their faces were smashed with stones. Those arrested have been identified as Mohammad Azad, gang leader, Sabu Khan, Akbar and Shamshad.
Dependra Pathak, joint commissioner of police (southwestern range), said the arrest of the four led to the busting of two gangs that were involved in cheating and robbing passengers of their cash and belongings at railways stations in Delhi that mostly remain deserted during late evening hours.
“Even as these gangs were targeting passengers frequently, there were hardly any complaints against them. The gangs remained low profile and out of the police radar because they generally targeted passengers, who were outsiders and waiting for trains to their home town. The criminals took advantage of the fact that such victims generally avoid filing their complaints,” said Pathak.
The investigating teams were taken aback when 60 mobile phones the four had robbed from passengers in the past few weeks were recovered from them. Sources said that not a single complaint was lodged with the police in connection with the cheating or robbery of the 60 mobiles.
Vijay Kumar, DCP (west), said that on January 12, they received a call about two unidentified bodies that were lying on a DDA’s land. Their faces were badly smashed with stones and empty liquor bottles were found lying nearby. It suggested that the killers had consumed liquor with the two before killing them, thus giving a clue that they were known to each other.
“A case was registered and teams formed to identify and nab the killers,” said Kumar adding photos of the deceased with their physical description details were uploaded on zonal integrated police network (Zipnet).
During the investigation, the police linked one of the bodies with Gulzar, whose missing complaint was filed at the New Usmanpur police station by his family. Gulzar’s family members identified the second deceased as his friend Anil Shah.
Gulzar’s antecedents were verified. It was learnt that he operated a gang of criminals who cheated and robbed passengers at railway stations by posing as fellow passengers.
Further probe revealed that Gulzar and Shah were last seen with members of another gang led by Azad that operated similarly. The four were caught after multiple raids.
Azad’s interrogation revealed that his gang was into crime for past some months. As they had started operating in areas dominated by Gulzar’s gang, Gulzar started collecting ₹1,000 as ‘hafta’ (protection money) from them.
“Gulzar recently hiked the protection money from ₹1,000 to ₹2,000. When Azad opposed this, he was slapped and threatened by Gulzar. This enraged Azad so much so that he along with his associates planned to kill Gulzar,” the officer said.
As per their plan, Azad and his four men invited Gulzar to a liquor party at an isolated spot, where he arrived with Shah. “When they got drunk, the five strangled them and then smashed their faces with stones to ensure that they were not easily identified,” the officer added.