Ten days ago, Pooja Bhatia, 23, a call center employee, left her Noida home to play Holi with her friends. Six days later, her body was fished out from Badkal lake in Faridabad and cremated by the police as an “unclaimed body”. On Thursday, Bhatia’s alleged killer was arrested by the Noida police.
The accused, Daljit Singh, a colleague of Bhatia and team leader at Sparsh, a call centre located in Noida’s sector 4, allegedly confessed to having pushed the victim to death into the lake on March 1 to avenge her rejection of his love as she loved another man.
Bhatia had left home with Singh to play Holi, according to police.
“Investigations revealed that Bhatia’s murder was a result of a love triangle. Daljit Singh had one-sided love for Pooja, who was in love with another man,” said A.K. Tripathi, Superintendent of Police.
“Dejected in love, he hatched a plan to kill her. On the pretext of Holi, Daljit took her to Faridabad’s Badkal lake where he killed her,” Tripathi said. He added, “We are looking into other possibilities too.”
Police said Bhatia could not swim.
“The accused, during interrogation, confessed that he pushed her to death into the lake,” said DSP Ambesh Tyagi.
On Wednesday, the victim’s family identified her personal effects, including her clothes, which were kept with the Surajkund police that had fished out her body from the lake on March 3. The police cremated the body after “72 hours” as per rule since nobody had claimed it.
The police picked up Singh on Wednesday afternoon when he admitted to having been with the victim the day she went missing.
Acting on his admission, the police team, along with the victim’s family and the accused, then went to the Surajkund police station under whose jurisdiction the lake falls.
“We had gone to Badkal Lake and were sitting near the Lake. Suddenly Pooja went to the lake and was drowned. I have not killed her. She had been under depression due to family and personal problems as she had break up with the man recently,” Singh said.
Rebutting his version, Tripathi said, “Even if we believe his version, then why didn’t he inform her relatives and police about the incident? The call details of his and the deceased’s mobile phones revealed both were together on the fateful day and their location was around Badkal Lake. All circumstantial evidence was against him.”
“This is unfortunate. Our sympathies are with the family of the deceased,” a spokesperson of Sparsh, the call centre where the two worked, said.
A case of kidnapping and murder has been lodged against Singh.