2 years after UP cop went missing, Delhi constable held for killing her
Police have arrested the constable and recovered the remains of the victim's body.
A Delhi Police head constable in September 2021 allegedly strangled a colleague he was stalking for several months, buried her body in a swamp and, for the next 18 months, used the woman’s voice messages to convince her family that she was alive, spinning an elaborate web of lies and deceit to keep them off his back.
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He managed to keep this charade up for nearly two years, till the walls began to close on him around September this year, after dogged efforts by the woman’s sister. Police finally arrested 42-year-old Surender Singh Rana and confirmed that 27-year-old Monika Yadav had died two years ago.
“We have recovered the remains of the victim’s body and sent them for DNA checks. Rana did everything he could to trick the family and us. But we will be able to build a watertight case against him,” said Ravindra Yadav, special commissioner of Delhi Police’s crime branch.
Rana last week led police to the spot where he said he had buried Yadav’s body — a marshy swamp in outer Delhi’s Alipur. There, police discovered bones they said likely belong to Yadav.
Yadav’s family alleged that officers in Mukherjee Nagar police station in northwest Delhi ignored their complaints and registered a case only this April – 18 months after she was first reported missing – after Delhi Police commissioner Sanjay Arora intervened.
According to the police, Yadav and Rana met in 2018, when she joined the Delhi Police PCR unit as a constable. Rana had worked in the division since 2012. Investigators said they became friends, with Rana mentoring Yadav. For the first couple of years, the two often exchanged calls, text messages and voice notes.
“The woman saw Rana as a fatherly figure. He would also refer to her as ‘beta’ (child),” the special commissioner said.
Yadav, who hailed from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh, quit the Delhi Police in 2020 after she was picked to join her home state’s police force as a sub-inspector.
In early 2021, however, she moved into a paying guest accommodation in Mukherjee Nagar, where she began studying for the Indian Administrative Services examinations.
Around this time, said police, Rana, a married man, began stalking her.
“He was convinced she would become an IAS or IPS officer,” said the special commissioner.
Yadav rebuffed Rana several times and even threatened to inform his colleagues and family about his behaviour. According to the first information report, Rana and Yadav had a pitched argument on September 8, 2021, when she asked him to leave her alone once again.
That evening, he convinced Yadav to meet him “for the last time” and asked her to accompany him in an autorickshaw from Mukherjee Nagar to Alipur.
Around sunset, Rana asked the auto driver to drop them near Burari Pushta in Alipur.
There, he strangled her and buried the body in a swamp. He used stones and rocks as weights to keep the body from floating up, said police, citing disclosures Rana made during interrogations.
After that began Rana’s circuitous cover-up that lasted the best part of a year-and-a-half.
A series of elaborate cover-ups
In the days after the murder, when Yadav’s family failed to reach her over the phone, they called Rana, who told them she was on a trip to Vaishno Devi. All those years, Yadav’s family knew Rana as a fatherly figure to her.
Meanwhile, Rana allegedly roped in his brother-in-law Ravin to procure a SIM card using a fake ID.
Ravin, 26, who was identified by his first name, in turn looked to his friend Rajpal to get hold of the SIM.
“Ravin claimed that Rana did not tell him about the murder, but threatened him to obey,” said a police officer, who added that Rana told Ravin that there was some trouble that could destroy his marriage.
According to the woman’s sister, who asked not to be named, Ravin allegedly made a WhatsApp call to their mother on September 11, 2021. Reading off a script prepared by Rana, Ravin posed as a man named Arvind, said “he was in love with Monika (Yadav)” and claimed they had eloped.
“The caller said Monika and him were afraid that their family would punish them for their choices. When my mother assured him that their marriage would be accepted, he said he was afraid of his own parents and asked for time to return home,” said Yadav’s sister.
Rana kept up the facade for months: Every time Yadav’s family wanted to speak to her, Rana played parts of her voice messages he had saved. Whenever the family sought a video call, he disconnected the line and turned off the phone.
“During interrogations, he told us he would record the woman whenever she spoke to him. He said he played parts of those recordings over the phone to fool the victim’s family,” said the Delhi Police special commissioner said.
The police are investigating if Rana stitched together certain parts of her recordings or used software to clone her voice.
Rana remained in touch with the family. Once, he even handed them photographs of Yadav with another man, who he claimed was Arvind, that he had morphed using editing tools.
On October 20, 2021, Yadav’s family decided to approach the police and file a missing person’s complaint. However, they were met with taunts and turned away by officers at the Mukherjee Nagar station.
“We kept visiting the police station over the next few months, but the police didn’t care,” alleged her sister, a school teacher.
Rana himself went to the police station several times. “He would attend every family function. He would create scenes at the police station to demand action. He would accompany the family to various places to search for the missing woman,” said the special commissioner.
However, things turned this April, when the family approached Delhi police chief Arora and urged him to file an FIR, after which a case of kidnapping was registered at the Mukherjee Nagar police station. The case crawled for months, after which the family approached Arora in July, following which the case was transferred to the crime branch, and a 12-member team was formed to hunt the girl down.
The first clue was when police tracked down and detained Ravin, using the SIM card he procured,
During interrogations, Ravin allegedly told the police that he was acting at Rana’s behest. The key suspect was identified and brought in on Friday, when he finally spilled the beans.
“Initially, he kept insisting that he had dumped the body in the Yamuna, because of which we spent days working on that information. Finally, on Saturday he led us to the point where he had buried the body. The forensic investigators, based on their initial findings, have suggested that the remains belong to a woman,” said the special commissioner.