Three hours before his henchmen would plunge him into the darkness of an imminent death, his 'friend', who also happened to be the mastermind of his fatal abduction bid had developed cold feet, police said.
Anoop Kumar, 21, whom Jhonny Gupta had studied with for a year and known for two at the Ambedkar Institute of Engineering in west Delhi, had almost dropped the idea of luring the latter to a west Delhi warehouse after Gupta kept him waiting longer than he had promised at the Punjabi Bagh flyover on April 3.
"Anoop had gotten bored when Jhonny didn't show up to meet him near the flyover, and had almost decided to drop the plan, gotten back on his bike and was about to drive off when his phone rang," the officer said, quoting Anoop's statement to the police.
It was Jhonny, apologising and attributing the delay to a long day at the construction site he was supervising at north Delhi's Model Town since February; and asking him to stick around just a little longer.
Two days later, Anoop was to confess to masterminding the plot which reduced Jhonny, the youngest of four siblings, to a semi-decomposed body rapidly eroding due to unnatural salt-retention.
"His body was utterly defaced, full of pus and so infected that the police issued us strict instructions to make sure that whoever handled his body during his cremation wear plastic gloves," rued Chandrashekar Gupta, his uncle.
Anoop, who had taken-up a rented accommodation near Jhonny's home in west Delhi's Paschim Vihar in 2010, police said.
Jhonny had moved out just seven months ago but made it a point to stay in constant touch with him."Throughout the entire episode, especially after we received the ransom call, Anoop was with us at every step. He would keep an eye on everything that was happening at home and even ask for minute details about what the police were saying. He would then contact Anil and Avinash from a landline and relay the information," said Jhonny's uncle Vijender.
"Can a normal human being even think of something as sinister as this? Arranging as much as 40 kg of salt to wipe away an entire human body? It's just…inhuman," he added.
Jhonny’s abductors — Anil, Avinash and Anoop — had asked his father to pay a ransom of R1 crore, which he had assured to pay.
But he also approached the police, which tracked Avinash and Anil. The duo then led the police to Anoop.