When Kartar Singh Solanki, father of 29-year-old Neetu, came to know that the police have tracked down the alleged murderer of his daughter, the grieving father could never imagine that the perpetrator would turn out to be his best friend's son.
"Neetu had brought Raju Gehlot home to introduce him to her mother and me two years ago... sometime in April 2007. Since my wife was unwell, much like the way she has been for the past eight years, I was the one who made tea and snacks for them," said 58-year-old Kartar Singh Solanki.
Almost three weeks after Neetu's body was found in a carrybag abandoned at the New Delhi Railway Station on the morning of February 11, the Delhi
Police were finally able to identify the victim as Solanki's daughter, a software professional at a BPO in Gurgaon and the eldest of four siblings, on Tuesday.
"We didn't even have the slightest inkling of how bad things could have gotten. I remember how I had made Raju sit next to me; his father,
Jai Singh Gehlot, was my classmate in school. We became best of friends by the time we had children of our own," said Solanki, a landlord and businessman by profession.
Neetu had left her residence in southwest Delhi's nondescript Matiala Village on May 1, 2010, according to her family of five, for a job assignment in Singapore.
"Even after we became suspicious about her location - her calls and gifts started originating from Bangalore in November, instead of Singapore - we trusted her enough to let her be.
Raju's uncle had even called and told me that she was probably living with Raju in Bangalore. But we never asked her about it. We knew she would always do the right thing," he said.
All his hopes are now pinned on his remaining children, especially his son.
"I wanted to make her a lawyer and she made my wish come true, although for a very short period of time. Now, my only hope is my youngest son. I want him to become a doctor," Solanki added.