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Ludhiana money lender strangulated victim in front of her daughter:Police

The accused was seeking sexual favours from victim for waiving her 1-lakh loan
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By HT Correspondent, Ludhiana
PUBLISHED ON NOV 12, 2019 10:26 PM IST

Harrowing details of the murder of 27-year-old woman emerged on Tuesday after police managed to catch hold of the accused, a money lender, two days after the crime.

According to the police, the accused had sought sexual favours from the woman and when she resisted, he strangulated her with a ‘dupatta’ in front of her nine-year-old daughter.

The accused had also threatened the girl against disclosing anything to anyone and told her that he would kill her and her siblings if she did not oblige.

However, the child divulged the details of the incident to investigating officials. The police will produce her in a court to record her statement.

The accused, Upinder Verma alias Lala, 40, a resident of Shimlapuri’s Shimla Palace, was nabbed from Giaspura railway crossing when he was trying to escape from the city to evade arrest.

Deputy commissioner of police (DCP) (detective) Simratpal Singh Dhindsa said the victim, Pratima Devi, and her husband Sanjiv Kumar had borrowed 1 lakh from the accused for buying a house.

“The accused was demanding his money back. On November 10, Lala went to the victim’s house and started mounting pressure on the couple,” he added.

“Sanjiv assured the accused that he would repay him in a few days and left for work. After he went, Lala began to harass Pratima and forced her to establish physical relation with him,” the DCP said.

“The accused used it as a bargaining chip against the loan taken by the couple. He even offered Pratima some money in exchange of sexual favours,” he added.

“It was when Pratima objected to his advances that Lala strangulated her with her dupatta. At the time of Pratima’s murder, her three children were present at the house,” DCP Dhindsa said.

“After she lost consciousness, Lala took her to hospital to avoid suspicion, where the doctors declared her dead,” he added.

“The accused kept on changing his statement when police reached the hospital for investigation. He initially said that Pratima fell down and he rushed her to hospital and later claimed that she was trying to hang herself and he rescued her,” the DCP said.

“When her postmortem report revealed that she was strangulated to death, we registered a first information report (FIR) under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Lala and arrested him,” he added.

Assistant commissioner of police (ACP) (Industrial Area B) Sandeep Wadhera said Pratima’s nine-year-old daughter has witnessed the murder of her mother.

“She has narrated the entire incident to the police. Her statement will be crucial for the case,” he added.

The accused was produced in a court on Tuesday, from where he was remanded to two-day police custody for questioning.

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