A man in east Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar strangled his wife a week ago, hid the body in his bed’s storage compartment, and slept with his lover on the very couch that concealed the macabre crime, police said.
Suspect Feroz Khan’s live-in partner, Suman aka Pooja, allegedly helped him get rid of his nagging wife, 31-year-old Haleema, after she found out her husband’s extramarital affair. The lovers strangled Haleema with a stole in a rented flat last Wednesday.
“They hid the body in the bed box and waited for an opportunity to get rid of it. They pretended to be as normal as possible. They even welcomed guests, betraying no signs of any abnormality in their behaviour,” an officer said on Wednesday.
But the fear of getting caught with a rotting body overcame the duo, and around 4am on Friday, they crushed the dead woman’s face with sticks and a blunt object. They stuffed the body with a mutilated face into a gunny bag, and dumped the sack in a waste dump nearby.
Job done, they locked the flat and bolted. But police caught them on Tuesday in their hideout, barely a couple of kilometers from where they lived.
Feroz told police he and Haleema were married for around 12 years, but she left him some two years ago and started living separately. They waited tables in restaurants in east Delhi.
The estranged husband then fell in love with Suman, a waitress at a restaurant where Feroz worked. Soon, Suman moved to Feroz’s rented flat and they started living together.
When Haleema learnt about Feroz’s live-in relationship, she decided to reclaim her husband despite his objection and entreaties to leave him alone. Haleema, it is said, remained adamant and mounted pressure on him to split up with Suman.
Last Wednesday, Haleema came to the flat, confronted the couple, and refused to leave. “Enraged, the duo overpowered and pinned her down. Feroz took out a stole and strangled her,” an officer said.
Delhi Police investigators approached the cold-blooded murder in a calculated way after residents informed them of a suspicious bag in the garbage dump on Friday afternoon.
Rishi Pal, the deputy commissioner of police (east), said three investigating squads collected information about women missing from nearby localities. They gathered details about missing tenants after July 26 and 27.
“A door-to-door search for vacant and locked flats led us to the one we were searching for. The landlord recognized Haleema from the photographs of the woman with the battered face. Other tenants in the building identified her too,” the officer said.
The landlord said Feroz and Suman, tenants of 10 months, abruptly vacated the flat on July 29.
The two were missing, and their mobile phones were switched off. But digital surveillance gave away the location of their phones — somewhere in Shakarpur. It didn’t take long to trace the new flat where the suspects were hiding.