The semi-decomposed body of a 23-year-old Delhi University student was recovered from the ventilation shaft of her suspected killer and boyfriend’s four-storey home at Rajpura near Model Town on the northwestern parts of the Capital.
Police said Arzoo Singh Chauhan, a final-year Hindi honours student of Laxmibai College, was abducted on February 2 from outside the institution allegedly by her boyfriend from the same neighbourhood and strangled her with a dupatta inside the car.
“She was apparently murdered at southwest Delhi’s Nangal Dewat. The man concealed the body in the boot of his car, where it remained till the next morning. In the meantime, he had driven the body to his Rajpura house and around 5am he took it out from the car’s boot, heaved it to the first floor and thrust it inside a ventilation shaft when members of his family were fast asleep. The dupatta was still tied around her neck,” an officer said.
Two days later, suspected assailant Naveen Khatri married another girl and spent his wedding night at the same room in which the body was dumped.Delhi Police, after its initial investigations, believe that Khatri, his father Rajkumar and some other members of the family may be involved in the crime.
Police sources said the woman was reportedly pregnant but it could be ascertained only after the autopsy report is out.
When Arzoo did not return from college till late in the night on February 2 and her cellphone was also switched off, her family reported the matter to the police.
“The next morning, we went to her college where we came to know that she used to meet Khatri even after the two families decided four months ago against their wish to get married. The Khatris were Jats and they didn’t want a Rajput bride for their son, that too from the same village,” Arzoo’s cousin Akanksha said.
“But her college friends told us that Khatri and Arzoo were still meeting secretly. She was seen with him on the day she went missing. That aroused suspicion and we informed police.”
Based on the family’s information, police picked up Khatri and he later confessed to his crime. He allegedly told police that his patience snapped because Arzoo was nagging him to marry her instead of the bride chosen by his family.
Police said he could be lying because they have information, although unverified, that the woman and Khatri were still friends even after their marriage plans failed and she accompanied him to hand invitation cards for his wedding to some people on the day she went missing. “But something went wrong between the two. We will have to find out that,” an officer said.
Arzoo’s relatives accused Khatri’s family, particularly his father, of killing her.
“He and my sister were friends for over a year and wanted to get married. Our family was ready but his family rejected the proposal, saying they were like siblings since they belong to the same village. My sister was kidnapped and murdered two days before his marriage. The Khatris were afraid that she could create some problem during his marriage. That’s why they killed her,” Arzoo’s elder sister Payal alleged.
The police said that Rajkumar had a criminal history and was serving a jail term for the murder of a neighbour that had taken place a few years ago. He was currently out on parole for his son’s wedding that took place on February 4.
His son was now charged with murder while police were investigating if any of his family members had assisted him or was directly involved.
“If they feared some disruption during the wedding ceremony, they should have told us. We would have ensured a peaceful wedding,” said Kavita, Arzoo’s distraught mother.