Man suspected of stealing phone tied to tree, lynched by 4 people in Delhi’s Naraina
A 23-year-old man, suspected to be a cellphone thief, died after being allegedly tied to a tree and beaten up with sticks and iron rods in a public park by four men in west Delhi’s Naraina on Friday, the police said.
All the four alleged killers were arrested on Friday. The sticks and iron rods used in the crime were also recovered from them, senior police officials associated with the case said on Saturday.
The park where the murder took place is located behind a police post at Loha Mandi in Naraina. The dead man had been involved in nearly a dozen petty crimes and arrested at least thrice. He had come out of jail just ten days ago, his family members said.
The police control room received a call around 6am about the incident at a municipal park in Loha Mandi on Friday, deputy commissioner of police (west) Deepak Purohit said. He added that a team from the Naraina police station reached there and found a man lying under a tree with injuries. A coconut fibre rope and a white muffler were also found on the crime scene, suggesting that the man was tie to a tree.
Shesh Kumar, a washerman who is a witness to the crime, told police that he saw his four neighbours assaulting the man and taking him to the park early morning, Purohit said. Kumar told officials that the four men tied the victim to a tree and beat him up with sticks and iron rods, according to Purohit. Kumar lives near the park.
“Kumar tried to intervene and requested them to release the injured person. But they did not pay heed to his request and said the man and his associates had stolen a mobile phone from a truck. Since his associates ran away with the mobile phone, they said they would not spare him,” Purohit said, quoting Kumar’s statement.
The four men --- identified as Mushtaq Ahmed, his brother Shiraj Ahmed, Anish and Ishtihar (all residents of Loha Mandi) --- fled the crime scene after the condition of the victim deteriorated. They work as loaders in Loha Mandi.
Police identified the victim as Rahul, alias Dhancha, a 23-year-old resident of Jawahar Camp in Kirti Nagar. The police took him to a nearby hospital, where he was declared dead. His body was later shifted to Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital, where the autopsy was conducted on Saturday.
The suspects were soon arrested from Loha Mandi itself. They said Rahul and his associates had stolen Shiraj’s cellphone from his truck. While they caught hold of Rahul, his associates escaped with the stolen phone.
“We are verifying the allegations of the arrested men,” said an official associated with the probe, requesting anonymity.
Mukesh Yadav, a native of Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad who works at an iron sheet manufacturing factory opposite the park said, “Nobody knows the actual reason for which the four men killed the man. Most of us (workers) were sleeping when the incident happened. By the time I reached the park, the man had fallen unconscious and his attackers had fled.”
Officials said Rahul lived with his parents, wife, and two children Jawahar Camp in Kirti Nagar area, which is across the railway tracks from Loha Mandi. He had a love marriage four years ago.
His wife, Pooja, said that on Thursday evening, he packed his clothes in a bag after they had an argument over storing drinking water in jars and left home, saying he would return only after getting a legitimate job.
“When he did not return till midnight, i searched him in the neighbourhood and asked his friends but they all were unaware of his whereabouts. I thought he would return in the morning,” said Pooja.
Around 11 am on Friday, Pooja said, a neighbour told him that some policemen were asking about her husband and their address. She went to the police station to enquire if her husband has been “named” in any crime yet again.
“The policemen asked me to wait at the police station. An hour later, one of them told me that my husband was murdered for stealing a phone and his four killers were arrested. I don’t know what the truth is,” Pooja said, adding that her husband was last arrested for possessing a knife and an illegal gun.
“He had come out of jail on August 17. The police always looked for him wherever any crime occurred in Naraina or Kirti Nagar,” she said.