Investigation into the kidnapping and murder of Mohammad Ashraf, a 21-year-old waiter, is going nowhere. Ashraf was murdered over a loan of Rs 3,000 by five people in the last week of March.
Despite the three-month-long investigation, the police have been unable to recover his body. They now feel that the body had not been disposed of in Roorkee’s Gang Nahar, as claimed by one of the arrested killers, Mohammad Aslam.
“We did our best to recover Ashraf’s body. We took the help of trained divers and the local police. But we could not recover the body,” said the investigating officer.
Police believe that the accused had buried Ashraf’s body somewhere in the dense forests on the Delhi-Roorkee route. They are also of the opinion that Aslam, currently lodged in Tihar Jail, had lied to them about the body’s location to mislead the police.
According to the investigating officer, evidence suggests that Aslam’s brother Mohammad Shakeel —currently on the run along with two other accused — probably buried the body on Ashraf’s instructions.
The only hope for a fresh lead, the officer said, lay in the arrest of Shakeel and his two associates, Mohammad Shareef and Mohammad Irshad. When asked about the delay in their arrest, the officer said the trio had been frequently changing their hide-outs and using different phone numbers to contact their families.
“A few days ago, we traced a mobile number from which Shakeel had called his relatives. Further investigation revealed that the number was issued in the name of a west Delhi electrician. The electrician claimed that his phone and wallet had been stolen a few days back. He even provided us with the police complaint,” added the officer.
On March 25, Ashraf, who worked as a waiter at a restaurant near Jantar Mantar and lived in a servants’ quarter of a former MP from Kerala, was abducted from outside his North Avenue house.
Police confirmed his death 14 days after his abduction, even though his family had been accusing Aslam and Shakeel for the abduction.