Two years after 24-year-old Kuldeep was found dead on the Qutabgarh-Sohti Road, a Delhi court has acquitted five men accused of his murder.
Puzzled by the continuing mystery surrounding the young man’s death, it also directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to order a probe against the officers who investigated the case.
During the trial, the court said the police had not just failed to investigate the crime properly, but had also withheld vital information regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of the young man.
“The possibility of this being (done) deliberately cannot be ruled out,” said Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau, adding that if the evidence being withheld had come to light, “the sham investigations conducted by the investigating officer and his attempts to divert, side-track, and switch over the crime by directing it upon the accused” would have been exposed.
The victim’s mother had told the court that on February 10, 2012, the same day his body was found, Kuldeep — a resident of Auchandi area in Delhi — was set to elope with a girl from a different caste.
The police, however, never explored the idea that his murder could be a hate crime or honour killing.
Instead, they arrested Kuldeep’s friend, Ram Roop, who allegedly called the police for help and made him an accused in the case.
According to the prosecution, Kuldeep had taken a ‘supari’ (contract money for murder) for accused Sanjay Rathi.
They further allege that Rathi, upon learning of the price on his head, along with the other four accused, cornered Kuldeep at the crime scene and shot him dead.
The defence, however, alleges that Kuldeep’s murder was a honour killing committed because of his relationship with the girl, adding that there was a possibility that the villagers and police were complicit in the crime.
While passing its judgment, the court noted that the prosecution had not only failed to prove any motive but also failed to mention that on the day of his murder, Kuldeep, along with accused Ram Roop, had an altercation with the villagers and the police.
The court was surprised by the fact that the bullets recovered from Kuldeep’s body were never sent for ballistic analysis.
It, therefore, remains unclear whether the guns recovered from the crime scene were indeed the ones used to commit the crime.
Of the 31 prosecution witnesses, only Kuldeep’s father — brought in to identify his son’s corpse — was not part of the police force.