A 60-year-old priest of a temple, in a locality under the jurisdiction of the Sihani Gate police station, was allegedly murdered as he was “friendly” with a 42-year-old married woman with three children. The police said the woman’s cousin allegedly discovered their “relationship” a month ago and hatched a conspiracy to murder the priest. He then allegedly disposed of his body along with his two-wheeler in the Upper Ganga Canal near Muradnagar.According to the police, Harvansh Kumar Shukla, the priest, went missing on the evening of August 28, and his body was recovered from the canal in Kakod area of Bulandshahr a day later. The police had lodged a missing person report at Sihani Gate police station and were informed by their counterparts in Bulandshahr of the discovery of the body.“We arrested the woman’s cousin Upendra Kumar, who murdered the victim with the help of his accomplice Dheeraj. Upendra told us that about a month ago, he was visiting his cousin and checked her mobile phone. He read her messages and listened to recordings of a compromising nature. He then warned Shukla to stay away from her, but Shukla allegedly continued to meet the woman,” Vaibhav Krishna, senior superintendent of police (SSP), said.According to the police, about a week ago, Upendra, a resident of Harsaon in Ghaziabad, visited his cousin’s house again and allegedly saw them together. This led to an altercation, the police said.“Upendra said he was upset. He then made his accomplice Dheeraj call up the priest in the guise of a woman and asked him to perform a ritual. The ‘female’ caller also told the priest that ‘she’ would send her domestic help to meet him near Dasna and bring him to ‘her’ place,” the SSP added.According to the police, when Shukla reached Dasna’s canal area on his motorcycle, Dheeraj met him, and both rode the motorcycle along the canal road towards Muradnagar. Dheeraj allegedly asked the priest to halt and Upendra met them there.The police said both Upendra and Dheeraj smashed Shukla’s head with bricks. They allegedly dumped the body and Shukla’s motorcycle in the canal. The motorcycle, the police said, was recovered at the instance of the two accused men after they were arrested from Harsaon.“Both men were arrested for abduction, murder and destruction of evidence. The shoes of the victim were also recovered at the instance of the two accused,” a police officer said.