Police on Sunday claimed they had solved the brutal murder of a 19-year-old law student, whose body was reportedly dismembered while she was still alive, by arresting two youngsters.
Himanshu Prajapati (23) and his friend Anuj Gautam were arrested after a week-long hunt for the killers of Gauri Srivastava. Her dismembered body was found near Sahid Path area on February 2. Police claimed the murder was the fallout of “love and betrayal”.
Director general of police A K Jain said Prajapati was in touch with Srivastava for the past 18 months through a mobile messaging application and committed the crime because he felt he had been cheated by her.
Prajapati’s friend Gautam was arrested for allegedly helping him conceal the crime, he said.
Jain said Prajapati strangled Srivastava after seeing what he described as “objectionable pictures and messages” saved in her mobile phone. He said Prajapati cut the girl’s body into pieces using a wood saw before disposing it.
The autopsy report suggested the girl was cut into pieces while she was still alive. This contradicted the police theory that the body was cut into pieces after she was stranguled to death. The report also did not mention strangulation as the cause of death.
Jain further said investigators were seeking the opinion of senior doctors and forensic experts to determine the cause of death. He alleged that Prajapati, who is a student of BCom part II through distance learning at an open university, was the main person involved in the crime and there were sufficient evidence against him.
Because of the brutality of the crime, the National Security Act will be used against the accused, Jain said. The accused will be taken into police custody to quiz them, he added.
Senior superintendent of police (Lucknow) Yashasvi Yadav said the two men were caught with the help of electronic surveillance and video footage from CCTVs installed at some distance from Srivastava’s home in Ganeshganj neighbourhood of Aminabad. He said Prajapati was the youngster on whose motorcycle Srivastava was seen in CCTV footage.
Yadav said a mobile phone and the saw used to cut the body were seized from the possession of Prajapati. He said the youngster’s jacket, jeans and helmet and the motorcycle seen in the CCTV footage were recovered from his house. Yadav said Gautam helped Prajapati after the murder.
The girl’s limbs, head, torso and abdomen were dumped separately. The crime came to light when people saw dogs sniffing a gunny bag in which the body parts were dumped.
Video: Police review CCTV footage and axe related to Lucknow girl's murder