A 19-year-old youth was bludgeoned to death during a robbery at his father’s jewellery shop on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday. The three robbers hit the victim on his head 11 times with an iron rod before looting gold and silver jewellery, claimed to be worth around `50 lakh, from the shop situated near Kali Mata temple.
The crime, which took place around 2am, has been recorded in three closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras while the robbers managed to damage or evade another three cameras installed inside the shop.
The victim, Shivam Verma, used to sleep on the shop premises. On Monday, he left for the shop after dinner around 11 pm, said his father, Jagdish Raj Verma. When he did not return by 6am, as was his routine, his father called him up but the phone was switched off.
Jagdish Raj reached the shop around 8am and opened its shutter with a spare key. “I found my son lying in a pool of blood. We immediately called the police, who reached the shop an hour later. My nephews took Shivam to the Kalka community health centre, where he was declared brought dead,” said Jagdish Raj Verma.
Panchkula deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Anil Dhawan visited the crime spot along with assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Rajesh Kumar. “There are three people involved in the crime. We are gathering and working on clues,” said the ACP.
A number of youngsters visited the governement mortuary to receive Shivam’s body. “Shivam was a simple and cheerful person. He never fought with anyone,” said Manik, an old schoolmate.
HOW CRIME UNFOLDED
Explaining how the robbers entered the shop, Shivam’s uncle Jaidev Singh said: “There is a metal door next to the shop. By breaking its lock, the miscreants reached the shop’s rear (which has thick vegetation). Then they probably climbed onto the roof using a wooden door dumped there.”
The robbers used a gas cutter to get through the tin roof. The gas cylinder used to operate the cutter was found dumped about 1 km from the shop, said police.
The CCTV footage gathered from the shop shows one of the robbers holding Shivam by his throat while another hit the left side of his head repeatedly around 1.50pm. In all, three robbers can be seen in the footage. Later, they can be seen decamping with gold and silver jewellery.
Although the trio kept their faces covered, one of them removed the mask soon after the murder. The miscreants remained in the shop for about an hour.
“Although we are yet to assess the actual loss, the robbers took away 1.25-kg gold and around 7-kg silver ornaments. It can be a loss of around Rs 50 lakh,” said Shivam’s father. Shivam’s Apple mobile phone has also been stolen and switched off, he said.
Police, meanwhile, are scanning CCTV footage of other shops besides the Chandimandir toll plaza and Kalka barrier as well.
PAST INCIDENTS AT SHOP
Shivam’s family has been in jewellery business for close to 100 years. They have been running the business from a rented shop. In September 2012, a briefcase containing a gas cutter and an iron rod was found near the shop. “We had informed the police,” said Jagdish Raj Verma.
“A couple of years back, some women came to the shop and stole eight earrings. When they returned after a week, we informed the police and got them arrested,” he said.