A Sessions court on Wednesday awarded the death sentence to a serial killer accused of abducting and murdering 24 cab drivers in two years time between 2002 and 2004. He and his accomplices would allegedly pose as passengers, hire cabs from Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad and other NCR towns and kill the drivers on the way before selling off the cabs in illegal auto markets in Uttar Pradesh.
Wednesday’s sentence is for just one of the cases reported in Gurgaon in 2002 when the accused, Devender Kumar Sharma, hired a cab and killed the driver. Sharma practiced as an Ayurvedic doctor in Pureni, Aligarh before he began the abductions and killings, police said. Two of his accomplices, Fatah Chand and Kishan, have not been arrested and have been declared proclaimed offenders. Another accused, Girish, who used to purchase vehicles from the gang, was also arrested. The average price they got for a Tata Sumo, Toyota Qualis and Indica cars was Rs. 45,000 per vehicle.
On March 12, 2007, a Sessions court in Faridabad had awarded life sentence to Sharma for killing a driver from Palwal in 2002.
In most cases, the bodies were not recovered, as the serial killings surfaced in 2004 when the accused was caught red-handed while killing a driver in Aligarh.
Additional Sessions Judge Balbir Singh awarded the death sentence to Sharma, holding him guilty of abducting and murdering driver Naresh Kumar in January 2002. Sharma hired a Tata Sumo from Gurgaon and killed driver Naresh in the jungles of Aligarh. Later, a case under section 302 (murder), 364 (abducting for killing motive) and 201 (disposing off the evidence such as body of the victim) of IPC was registered against the unknown assailants on February 2, 2002. Naresh’s body was never recovered.
The modus operandi of the gang was for one of them to pose as a passenger and hire a taxi from various taxi stands in Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, generally for Aligarh, police said. They would then kill the driver at a lonely stretch, dump the body and speed away in the vehicle.
One of the investigating officers said Sharma admitted to having committed about 35-40 murders during initial interrogation by the police in Faridabad after he was brought here on transit remand from Meerut Jail.
Later a couple of cases were registered in Jaipur also and Sharma was lodged in Jaipur jail till May 8, when he was brought to Gurgaon court and was held guilty of killing Naresh Kumar.
Claiming innocence and looking unrepentant, Sharma said on Wednesday that he was being framed by a Palwal resident because of an old enmity.