Love and betrayal: How the police zeroed in on ‘killer’ hubby in Rohini murder
But his “aggressive behaviour” at the hospital as well as with the police had forced investigators to be cautious in their approach while probing his role.delhi Updated: Oct 27, 2017 00:19 IST
Investigators on Friday said they found restaurateur Pankaj Mehra’s role suspicious in his wife Priya’s killing right from the moment they began investigating the case.
There were alleged inconsistencies in his statements and his story had loopholes, they said .
But his “aggressive behaviour” at the hospital as well as with the police had forced investigators to be cautious in their approach while probing his role.
The first statement that caught their attention was that before the murder he had taken his wife Priya on a drive to Paharaganj as she wanted to see the house of the moneylender. Pankaj also told Priya to complain to the police if the moneylender ever harmed him.
“This explanation came across as bizarre considering that he blamed the same moneylender for the murder immediately after the crime,” said Rajesh Khurana, joint commissioner of police (north).
The investigators also did not believe the fact that the killers fired only two bullets from outside Pankaj’s car and both of them hit the woman above her shoulders.
The manner in which Pankaj’s car windows were found shattered added to the police’s suspicions. The fact that Pankaj’s car was not chased by the assailants after he managed to drive away too came across as suspicious.
So, police desperately searched for CCTV footage to nail the restaurateur’s fake story even as they waited for initial ballistic analysis and forensic reports.
“The reports showed that the trajectory followed by the bullet in Priya’s neck was 180 degrees, meaning it was shot from a very close range. A bullet fired from outside the car would have travelled in a tangent,” said Khurana.
On the wound opening, the police said they found a single, black soot mark, that suggested that the bullet had been fired from point-blank range. “This proved Pankaj had lied about an assailant firing from outside the car, several feet away from where the woman was,” said the officer.
What confirmed the police’s suspicion was the alleged recovery of a bullet shell from under the front seat of Pankaj’s car. This wouldn’t have happened had the bullet been fired from outside the car.
Police confronted Pankaj when they finally obtained the poor quality CCTV footage of the crime spot from a fuel station nearby. “Unlike what Pankaj claimed, no second car had stopped near his vehicle at the time of the crime. His own car stopped briefly before driving away. He confessed to the crime after being confronted with this evidence,” said DCP (northwest), Milind Dumbere.
Police have not ruled out the role of a second person in the murder and are trying to recover the pistol that was used in the crime.
First Published: Oct 27, 2017 00:19 IST