Her family didn’t want Preeti to keep seeing her much-married boyfriend, a father of two. So the couple hatched a plan -- to murder and elope.
On Sunday morning, 19-year-old Preeti Bhadana and 26-year-old Sonu were arrested by the Noida police for the murder of her parents, her aunt, a cab driver and a tantric, almost a week after their bodies were pulled out of a canal in Badaun, 180km from here.
The two have confessed to the murders, police said, adding the body of the tantric (occultist) was recovered a day later but that of the driver is yet to be found.
The Bhadanas, who came from Greater Noida’s Nawada village, had on August 26 decided to visit a Badaun shrine the family frequented and hired a Maruti Eeco taxi.
These visits were an opportunity for Preeti to meet Sonu. “Preeti and Sonu wanted to marry but her family was against it, as Sonu was married and had two children,” Greater Noida superintendent of police (rural) Abhishek Yadav said.
They were in a relationship for two years and every time the family visited Badaun, Sonu would follow them, Yadav said. Preeti would trick her family into spending some time with Sonu, a resident of Meerut.
As soon as the family reached the shrine, Preeti offered them a bottle of water in which she had mixed 30 pills of a sedative, police said.
The family -- father Raje Bhadana, mother Dharmwati, uncle Rajender, aunt Priti, brother Lalit – driver Om Pal and tantric Saleem, a local, went into a stupor.
Her sister-in-law Sheetal, who is pregnant, threw up after drinking the water and escaped the worse effects of the drug.
As the drug began to take effect on others, Lalit convinced his family to see a doctor after they offered a chadar at the shrine. He was driving the family -- Pal was in no condition to move -- when “Preeti insisted that he offer a separate chadar”, Yadav said.
Lalit, Sheetal and Rajender went back to the shrine and that is where the police found them, drugged but alive.
Preeti by then had called Sonu, who was in the area. He was driving the Maruti Eeco when a Badaun police patrol stopped the vehicle and asked about Raje and Dharmvati, who were lying unconscious. But Preeti somehow managed to convince them and they were allowed to go.
Sonu headed for the canal with Raje, Dharmvati, Preeti, Om Pal and Saleem in the car.
“The two pushed the vehicle into the canal, killing all five,” Yadav said.
Preeti and Sonu then fled to Allahabad. They waited for things to cool down and were planning to return to Sonu’s house in Meerut but were nabbed at Bulandshahr railway station. Sonu’s phone location tied him to the crime and also helped police to trace the couple.