A right turn on Basai road off the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway leads to the narrow streets of Baldev Nagar — an old city locality with a lower middle-class population. At the left end of street 15-A is a three-storey house where a poster of Sai Baba greets visitors that now include the police.
The Mumbai police team that is probing gangster Sandeep Gadoli’s alleged encounter killing is on the hunt for a missing piece in the jigsaw that is related to this house.
House owner Ashok Pahuja’s daughter Divya Pahuja happens to be an accused and the sole witness of the alleged encounter killing of Gadoli. The encounter happened in a Mumbai hotel where the gangster was gunned down by a team of the Gurgaon police on February 7.
Ashok, a vegetable vendor, lives here with his wife Sonia Pahuja and two daughters, Naina and Divya. For months now, this house has been drawing a lot of attention but no one in the neighbourhood wants to talk about the inhabitants.
Divya, a 19-year-old aspiring model, presumably holds the key in the Gadoli ‘encounter’ case, as the Mumbai and Gurgaon police argue over the authenticity of the encounter. It is being alleged that the Gurgaon police used Divya as a honeytrap to reach Gadoli .
A girl opens the front door of the house and informs that no one is home. “No one is here. You can come in the evening,” the girl who introduced herself as a family friend said.
Ask the neighbours about the family and they will shut the doors on your face. Ashok, the father, is known as ‘sabziwala’ who sets up his vegetable cart at a nearby market.
Even as the Mumbai police special investigation team (SIT) is camping in Gurgaon to track Divya, she is seen updating her locations on her Facebook account. Divya’s latest update on May 27 was about shopping with her younger sister Naina Ahuja in a south Delhi mall.
Her friends remember her as someone who was desperate to be famous. She completed Class 12 from St PBN Public School in Sector 17, Gurgaon, three years ago and worked as a compere at club events in Gurgaon before allegedly meeting Gadoli.
“She loved getting her pictures clicked and was ready to pose. A number of times, we even clicked her pictures for free,” an acquaintance, who is a Delhi-based photographer, said.
Divya’s Facebook wall has her pictures with celebrities, including Chunky Pandey and Pawan Chawla.
Some even recall her abrupt transformation from a girl who used to wear simple clothes and roam in local markets of Gurgaon to a woman travelling in luxury cars and shopping at swanky malls. Even her Facebook profile speaks volumes of the change in her lifestyle.
“I have not seen someone changing so quickly. She almost looks like a model now,” another acquaintance of Divya said.
Divya disappeared a month ago. The Mumbai police have visited her houses in Gurgaon and Delhi thrice, but failed to track her down.