Restaurateur shot wife in sleep, threw murder weapon away: Police
The DCP said Pankaj told the police that the moneylender, whom he had initially blamed for his wife’s murder, had left the pistol at his home when he came to threaten him for the Rs 40 lakh that he allegedly owed him.delhi Updated: Oct 28, 2017 15:18 IST
Priya Mehra, 34, had nearly dozed off when her restaurateur husband Pankaj Mehra briefly stopped his car near Rohini Jail on Wednesday morning and allegedly shot her at point-blank range, police said.
“Priya had no idea what was coming. Pankaj told us he shot her without waking her up,” Milind Dumbere, DCP (northwest) told Hindustan Times. There were no last words, he said.
According to Dumbere, Pankaj claimed he then drove towards a hospital and threw the pistol out of the car below the loop of the flyover ahead of Mukarba Chowk.
The police have not yet recovered the murder weapon. They are combing all possible locations where the gun could have landed.
It was also not clear how Pankaj got the pistol. The DCP said Pankaj told the police that the moneylender, whom he had initially blamed for his wife’s murder, had left the pistol at his home when he came to threaten him for the Rs 40 lakh that he allegedly owed him.
“Pankaj claims he had offered to return the pistol to the moneylender but he was asked to keep it. We are not taking his claims at face value,” the DCP said.
Priya’s mother, Manju Menghani, had earlier told HT that she had once seen Pankaj carrying a pistol before.
Pankaj was arrested on Thursday after police countered his story that he and his wife were attacked by armed goons — allegedly sent by Pankaj’s moneylender — near Rohini jail. Pankaj claimed an armed man had shot his wife during a scuffle but he and his two-year-old son escaped unhurt after the assailant’s pistol jammed.
Police said CCTV footage and scientific evidence helped nail Pankaj’s lies about being waylaid by a second car.
Rajesh Khurana, joint CP (northen range), said Pankaj wanted to get rid of his wife Priya and live with a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair and blame his moneylender for the murder so that he did not have to return the money.
On Friday, a city court sent Pankaj to police custody for three days.
Police said they would interrogate the woman with whom Pankaj was allegedly having an affair.
“We know the woman’s identity but are yet to trace her. She will reveal the nature of her relationship with Pankaj and whether she had any idea about his plan,” said Dumbere.
Priya’s mother Manju had earlier alleged the turbulent phase in her daughter’s life began over a year ago when she learnt that Pankaj had allegedly married a woman and had fathered a child.
“Pankaj admitted to being in a relationship with another woman, but he denied he had married her or fathered a child. Whenever Priya would question him, Pankaj would beat her up,” Manju had alleged.