A 65-year-old retired Indian Army major, a decorated war hero who had been presented with the Veer Chakra for his role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, was murdered by two of his employees and their two friends in West Patel Nagar on Thursday.
The crime took place around 1am on Thursday. The major, identified as Rohit Sethi, was smothered to death using a pillow after being fed daal laced with sedatives for dinner.
Sethi stayed at his residence with his 94-year-old mother. His wife stays with their son in Singapore.
The four men involved in the crime, police said, included Ravi Kumar — the caretaker of a paying guest accommodation for boys that Sethi owned — and Pankaj, a new domestic help hired by the Army veteran. The other two accused were identified as Arun and Pintu Yadav. Both worked as domestic helps in Rajender Nagar. All four have been arrested.
Sethi’s bedroom was found ransacked, two lockers of his almirahs were found broken and cash and jewellery was found missing. Police said they had recovered the entire robbed booty.
Sethi’s close friend and neighbour Prem Nagpal said he last met his friend around 9.30 pm on Wednesday at his residence. On being asked how the murder came to fore, Nagpal said Sethi ran a PG accommodation for boys on the first floor of his building that was looked after by Ravi Kumar, the mastermind of the crime.
“Around 5.30am, Ravi came downstairs for some work and found Sethi lying unconscious on the bed, with blood oozing out of his mouth and nose. He immediately raised an alarm and woke up Sethi’s mother Kailash. Ravi found that their room was locked from the outside and went out to alert the neighbours,” Nagpal added. The police control room was called and Sethi taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
During investigation, it was learnt that Sethi’s servant Pankaj, who was appointed only two days ago on the reference of an employee of a local restaurant, was missing. Since Sethi’s mobile phone was also missing, investigators put both Pankaj and Sethi’s mobile phones on surveillance.
“We found that the SIM card which Pankaj was using was issued in Pintu Yadav’s name. When we scrutinized their call details, it was revealed that they had exchanged 21 calls in the past 24 hours. We picked up Yadav and during interrogation he broke down and spilled the beans. All four were later arrested and the robbed cash and jewellery recovered,” said a investigating officer.