ADCP Sameer Verma (centre) giving details of the rape and murder case following the accused’s arrest in Ludhiana on Friday. (HT Photo)
ADCP Sameer Verma (centre) giving details of the rape and murder case following the accused’s arrest in Ludhiana on Friday. (HT Photo)

Self-styled godman rapes, murders 22-yr-old in Ludhiana, dumps body in field

Nabbed a week after the crime on February 26; woman had approached him for help after she lost her job due to the pandemic last year
By HT Correspondent, Ludhiana
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 10:48 PM IST

A self-styled godman has been arrested for strangling a 22-year-old woman to death after raping her at his ashram on February 26.

The decomposing body was found stuffed in a gunny bag at a field in Daad village on Friday, following information provided by the accused, Sambodh Das, 35, of LIG flats of Dugri. The woman’s mobile phone was also recovered from him.

Hailing from Uttarakhand, Das has been living in Ludhiana for the past 30 years and runs his ashram in a room at Phullanwal Enclave.

According to police, the woman had approached him through her parents, who were his regular visitors, as she had lost her job during the pandemic and was pinning hopes on him to provide a remedy.

“The woman’s parents had filed a complaint after she didn’t return home on February 26. Her mobile phone was also switched off, following which an FIR under Section 346 (wrongful confinement in secret) of the Indian Penal Code was registered against unidentified accused,” said additional commissioner of police (ADCP, City 3) Sameer Verma, while addressing a press conference on Friday.

Mobile phone records helped crack case

The ADCP said the victim’s mobile phone call details helped track down the accused, as he was the last person she had called and the last mobile location was also recorded at his ashram before she went missing.

Police suspicions grew stronger after a friend of the woman shared that he had dropped her at the ashram on his motorcycle on February 26.

“Initially, Das kept refusing any contact with her, but eventually conceded, and confessed to raping and killing her after she visited him on February 26. He was alone at the ashram, when he raped her. Afraid of being caught, he strangled her to death and waited for four hours till nightfall to dump the body in a field,” said the ADCP.

“To avoid any suspicion, he remained at his ashram and continued his usual routine,” he added.

The police official said the woman used to be a manager at an automobile agency, but lost her job during the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020. As she wanted to continue to support her family financially, she had approached Das for help with securing a job soon.

Police have added Section 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of the IPC in the FIR. They will produce the accused before a court on Saturday.

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