For 4 months, aspiring air hostess was stalked, harassed before being murdered in public

Hindustan Times | ByShiv Sunny, New Delhi
Jul 07, 2017 11:19 AM IST

An aspiring air hostess was allegedly stabbed by a 22-year-old man while she was on her way to a local market in east Delhi’s Shahdara. Onlookers, reportedly, waited for cops to arrive and take her to the hospital even as she bled profusely.

In March this year, when 21-year-old Riya Gautam wanted to break her 18-month-old friendship with Mohammad Adil, she did not know that she would be soon be facing a stalker who would threaten, assault and finally stab her to death.

GS Gautam, father of Riya Gautam, who was stabbed to death in east Delhi's Shahdara.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
GS Gautam, father of Riya Gautam, who was stabbed to death in east Delhi's Shahdara.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

Riya, an aspiring air hostess, was stabbed eight times on Wednesday evening by Adil near her home in east Delhi’s GTB Enclave. She succumbed to her injuries in the early hours of Thursday.

Adil, an unemployed man with four cases of vehicle thefts against him, allegedly began stalking and harassing Riya the day she asked him to stay away from her.

However, Adil continued to intercept and threaten Riya while she travelled to Frankfinn institute for her air hostess training.

Initially, she had ignored him and warned her to stay away. But, after he allegedly assaulted her in a bus full of people in March this year, she decided that she has had enough. Riya, along with her family, visited the local police and submitted a written complaint against Adil.

“The police received the complaint, but never converted it into an FIR that could have ensured legal action against Adil. Had the police pursued him then, I would not have lost my sister today,” Riya’s brother Ashish told HT.

Riya’s sister, Komal, said the investigating officer had chosen to sit on the complaint instead of registering a FIR. “Adil became bolder because of lack of police action,” Komal alleged, adding that a police team did visit Adil’s home, but he had fled by then, apparently after being tipped-off.

Riya Gautam, who was stabbed to death.
Riya Gautam, who was stabbed to death.

Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police spokesperson, said a probe has been ordered to know if there was any inaction by the investigating officer after receiving the complaint. “Disciplinary action will be initiated if any shortcoming is revealed,” said Pathak.

According to investigators, Adil had shifted to Gujarat even as his mother, changed house and moved to another neighbourhood in east Delhi. According to Nupur Prasad, DCP (Shahdara), Adil and Riya stayed in touch over phone and messages, but Riya’s family alleged that she was being abused by Adil over those calls and messages.

When Adil finally returned and confronted Riya right near her home on Wednesday evening, she did not know that he was carrying a knife. Probe has revealed that Riya knew about Adil’s visit and had lied to her family to go out and meet him.

CCTV footage of the attack suggests that the duo was involved in an animated exchange for a while before Adil suddenly began attacking Riya with a knife. Riya used her hands to shield herself and even ran into a shop on the roadside. But Adil followed her into the shop and repeatedly stabbed her before fleeing.

By the time she was taken to a hospital, she had lost a lot of blood. “She received a large stab wound in her abdomen and six-seven other smaller wounds,” said the DCP. She was operated upon but succumbed to her injuries around 2am on Thursday.

The police are yet to ascertain the trigger behind the murderous assault as they couldn’t speak to Riya before she died. The police have formed multiple teams to conduct raids in three different states where Adil is supposed to be hiding. “We are very close to nabbing him,” said the DCP late on Thursday.

Soon after the attack, Adil had allegedly called his mother and asked her to escape, but police have tracked her down and are questioning her.

Police said that the ‘friendship’ between Riya and Adil began over 18 months ago. The cops, however, stopped short of calling it a romantic relationship.

Riya’s family members, however, claimed that Adil had been meeting her “against her will” by changing his name. “But when she got to know his real name, she severed ties with him. But he refused to back off and began harassing her,” said a relative.

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