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Woman killed in Delhi’s Rohini, hides baby under seat before being shot

Delhi Police say woman’s restaurateur husband has told them that he owed Rs 40 lakh to a moneylender who had been threatening him

delhi Updated: Oct 26, 2017 11:41 IST
Shiv Sunny
Shiv Sunny
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi crime,crime against women,unsafe delhi
Rohini resident Priya Mehra (left), who was shot dead on Wednesday in northwest Delhi, in an undated picture with her husband Pankaj Mehra(Source: Delhi Police)

A 34-year-old woman was shot dead in northwest Delhi’s Rohini on Wednesday, after the car she was travelling in with her restaurateur husband and two-year-old son was fired upon by assailants.

The victim, Priya Mehra, was on her way back from a gurudwara when the alleged attack took place on Wednesday morning, police said. The husband later told the police that the assailants had allegedly been sent by his financer to whom he owed Rs 40 lakh.

Priya’s son, who celebrated his second birthday last week, was in her lap when the assailants opened fire. “As soon as the men opened fire, Priya instinctively ducked under the seat with her baby,” said a police officer. The child received minor injuries from glass shards while Priya’s husband, Pankaj, remained unhurt.

Pankaj has told police that he and his son survived because the pistol used by the assailants jammed after firing two rounds, giving them an opportunity to escape.

Read: Attack faked, Rohini woman allegedly killed by restauranteur husband, says Delhi Police

“Pankaj owns a restaurant-cum-bar in Paharganj and a cafe in Hudson Lane,” said Milind Dumbere, DCP (northwest). The DCP added that both the eateries had failed to take-off and have been shut for around two months and Pankaj was being pursued and threatened by his financer, to whom he owed money.

The couple and their son lived in Rohini Sector 15. Pankaj’s family said that he would often sit at another restaurant owned by his brother, Anil, in Hudson Lane till late in the night. His wife and son would later join him at the restaurant for the drive back.

“Pankaj has claimed that the family left Hudson Lane after midnight. They then visited Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in CP, before driving back home in their car,” said the DCP.

The car had reached near the Bhalswa flyover, near Rohini Jail, when it was allegedly intercepted by a white Maruti Swift around 4.15am.

The DCP quoted Pankaj as saying that an unidentified man, armed with a pistol, came out of the Swift car and threatened to teach him a lesson for “going into hiding” with the financer’s money.

“Pankaj claimed that he had borrowed lakhs of rupees on a high rate of interest from a Paharganj-based financer. The financer was hounding him for the money,” Dumbere said.

When Pankaj refused to open the door, the attacker allegedly used the pistol butt to break open his window glass. “Pankaj then got into a scuffle with the man and tried to snatch his pistol away,” said the DCP.

This allegedly prompted the attacker to start shooting. “The first bullet hit Priya in her face and cracked the car’s windshield. Priya had already pushed her son to safety under the car’s seat by then. Pankaj realised his wife was hit only when a second bullet hit Priya in her neck,” the DCP said.

As the attacker tried to fire more rounds, the pistol apparently jammed. “The man then called out to his associates in the car to hand him another gun. Pankaj seized this opportunity to managed to drive away and reached a hospital. His wife was later declared dead at a hospital,” Dumbere quoted Pankaj as saying.

While the police are focusing their probe on the role of the financer, they have not given a clean chit to anyone. “Priya’s family has mentioned that the duo had a troubled marriage in which the couple even stayed separately for a year. We will probe if that had anything to do with the killing. We are analysing the alleged sequence of events and the collecting forensics of the crime scene,” said Dependra Pathak, chief spokesperson of Delhi Police.

Pankaj’s family, however, said they were unaware of their son’s problems with his financer and claimed that all was well between the couple. “They had a love marriage 11 years ago and were very happy together,” said Pankaj’s sister, Ritu Sharma.

First Published: Oct 25, 2017 11:57 IST