Police arrested a man on Monday who allegedly murdered a young belly dancer from Uzbekistan, stuffed her body in a suitcase and set it on fire at a remote village in Haryana two months ago.
Two days after 22-year-old Shakhunoza Shukurova went missing, Haryana police recovered the partially charred body and registered a case of murder even as the victim’s mother was frantically searching for her in Delhi and pleading with authorities. The body was identified only on Monday afternoon.
Shakhunoza was allegedly abducted on September 24 and driven to Haryana by the main accused, Gagan, and Naaz, who’s also from Uzbekistan and was a friend of the victim.
“Gagan narrated the entire episode during questioning of how Naaz and he first called Shakhunoza on the pretext of settling a monetary dispute and then took her to Haryana,” said a senior police officer. “He confessed that they strangled her to death and then put her body in a big suitcase. They then started searching for an appropriate place to get rid of the body and reached Samalkha (town).”
They dumped the suitcase in a field behind the residence of a local politician at Karhans village near Samalkha and then set the bag on fire, police said.
“On the basis of the complaint filed by Shakhunoza’s driver, we registered a case of kidnapping and called Naaz and Gagan for questioning,” an officer said. “Following Gagan’s confession, a team was sent to Samalkha to inspect the spot where the body was burnt.”
However, Delhi police officials discovered their Haryana counterparts had cremated the body after registering a case and a post-mortem examination.
They have now picked up circumstantial evidence from the spot and sent it for forensic examination.
“The DNA samples of her mother will now be matched with the samples lifted from the spot. Gagan has been arrested and we are looking for Naaz who is absconding,” said another officer.