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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Delhi man who tried to pass off death of daughter as natural arrested for murder

The 45-day investigation revealed that the woman, Sheetal Mathur, was murdered allegedly after she did not agree to a marriage her family had arranged for her.

delhi Updated: Sep 10, 2019 09:36 IST
Anvit Srivastava
Anvit Srivastava
New Delhi
Over a month after the police intervened and stopped the cremation of the body of a 19-year-old woman,  her 50-year-old father and his friend were arrested on Sunday for allegedly killing her.
Over a month after the police intervened and stopped the cremation of the body of a 19-year-old woman, her 50-year-old father and his friend were arrested on Sunday for allegedly killing her.
         

Over a month after the police intervened and stopped the cremation of the body of a 19-year-old woman, her 50-year-old father and his friend were arrested on Sunday for allegedly killing her.

The 45-day investigation revealed that the woman, Sheetal Mathur, was murdered allegedly after she did not agree to a marriage her family had arranged for her. Instead, she wanted to marry someone of her choice. Police said the family tried to pass off her death as natural. But the suspicion that she was murdered rose after the police received a tip that Sheetal’s body was being quietly cremated by her family members in Adarsh Nagar’s Lal Bagh on July 24.

Suspecting foul play, a police team from Adarsh Nagar police station reached the Kewal Park cremation ground and stopped the cremation minutes before the pyre was to be lit. “Just three or four men had come for the cremation. When our team asked them how she had died, her father Lakhan Mathur, a cable TV operator, said she died of an illness. When asked for hospital records, he said she died in her sleep. Suspecting something amiss, the body was taken into custody and was sent to Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial hospital for an autopsy,” a police officer probing the case, who wished not to be named, said.

Preliminary medical examination suggested that Sheetal’s body had external injuries on the neck and all over the body. “Almost a month later, when we got a detailed autopsy report, it mentioned multiple external injuries and stated that cause of death was asphyxia (suffocation) due to strangulation. All injuries were ante-mortem (suffered before death), the report said,” the officer said.

A number of local residents, relatives and family members of the woman were questioned. Police learnt that the woman had strained relations with her family. “We learnt that Sheetal was in a relationship with a man from another caste and wanted to marry him. However, her family was against that,” the officer said.

Deputy commissioner of police (northwest) Vijayanta Arya said when police questioned Lakhan later, he continued to maintain that Sheetal had died in her sleep.

“When asked why did they not rush her to a hospital or call the police, the man had no answer. We then confronted him with the post-mortem report and the statement of the other family members and relatives. Left with no choice, the man admitted to having killed her,” Arya said.

The DCP said Lakhan took the help of his 30-year-old friend Raju Lal, also a cable TV operator, to carry out the crime. On July 23, when Sheetal went to sleep, they entered her room and strangled her. “They have been booked for murder under the IPC Section 302 and under Section 201 for tampering with evidence and giving false information. It took us more than a month to zero in on the suspects as we wanted to be sure about the cause of death and, therefore, waited for a detailed autopsy report. We are looking at the involvement of the other family members in the crime,” Arya said.

First Published: Sep 10, 2019 03:00 IST

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