Chandra Mohan Sharma — an RTI activist and Aam Aadmi Party member whose burnt body was recovered from his car three months ago — faked his death with his brother-in-law’s help, police said on Thursday.
Sharma — who was brought back from Bangalore on Thursday — killed a mentally-unstable man, put him inside the car and set it on fire, police said. The RTI activist has been booked under different sections of the Indian Penal Code, including murder.
Sharma, who worked for Honda Siel, was suspected to have been trapped in his Chevrolet Aveo after it caught fire on May 1. Fire tenders had rushed to the spot but failed to save him.
During police interrogation, the 38-year-old reportedly confessed to having an unhappy family life and said he faked his death to live with an unmarried woman. The police brought her back from Bangalore along with Sharma.
Read: RTI activist faked his death to get away from wife, live with another woman
The activist convinced his brother-in-law Videsh to help him. “He narrated his family problems to Videsh and said if his death was staged, Videsh’s sister would get a job and money from insurance policies that Sharma had,” said Preetinder Singh, senior superintendent of the police.
In the event of his death, Honda was supposed to pay Sharma’s family Rs. 36 lakh, of which Rs. 20 lakh of which had already been paid. Sharma also had a life insurance policy worth Rs. 3 lakh.
“Sharma found a mentally-unstable man who used to roam in the same area and became friendly with the man. On May 1, the 38-year-old bought three liters of petrol. He took the unidentified man to the car and, with Videsh’s help, strangulated the man using a belt. The dead man was then put on the driver’s seat before setting the car on fire,” explained Singh. Sharma then took a train to Bangalore from the New Delhi railway station, Singh claimed.
The police first became suspicious about the death after a 26-year-old woman from the same neighbourhood went missing on June 6. Investigations revealed that the SIM she was using had been registered in Sharma’s name and he had frequently called her.
Between August 9 and 13, three phone calls made to the woman’s family were traced to a PCO in Bangalore. All the calls claimed the woman had been spotted near Tirupati and asked the family to take her back.
“Three police teams were sent to Bangalore who found out that a man in Honda uniform had made the calls. CCTV footage provided the man’s photo. When we scanned the database of the nearest Honda plant, we found that a man identical to Sharma was working there,” said Singh.
This man, who called himself Nitin Sharma, claimed he hailed from Hisar in Haryana but the police identified him as Chandra Mohan Sharma after they discovered a tattoo on his hand with Chandra Mohan’s wife’s name.
Police said Sharma had made the calls since he was finding living with the 26-year-old woman in Bangalore financially taxing.