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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Bike stickers, Aadhar card: How Delhi cops tracked men who murdered friend

Class 11 student of a private school was kidnapped and murdered by his friends on Saturday. Delhi police said he was killed as he had allegedly shown interest in the girlfriend of one of his friends.

delhi Updated: Oct 31, 2017 12:25 IST
Karn Pratap Singh
Karn Pratap Singh
Hindustan Times
Navin Singh, 20 and Akash Choudhary, alias Ashy, 21, in police custody.
Navin Singh, 20 and Akash Choudhary, alias Ashy, 21, in police custody. (HT Photo)

‘Inspired’ by a popular crime show on TV, three friends hatched and executed what they thought was a near-perfect murder plot in south Delhi’s Mehrauli. But slip-ups like dropping Aadhar card at the crime scene, removing bike stickers and getting caught on CCTV camera gave them away.

The clues led police to three suspects — two adults and a minor — who had allegedly kidnapped and murdered the 17-year-old Class 11 student of a private school, the investigating officers said. One of the adults, Navin Singh, is a former student of the same school. The other adult suspect is Akash Choudhary, a “close friend” and neighbour of the victim.

Police said the boy was killed because he showed interest in the girlfriend of one of his friends. The three allegedly strangled the teenager with a cotton towel and then called his family from his mobile phone to demand Rs 20 lakh in ransom.

The three mistakes

The three suspects were first spotted by the police while scanning CCTV footage of the area. They had, however, hidden their faces and could not be identified.

“ In the video footage, we saw two stickers ‘Jat’ and ‘13’ pasted on a Royal Enfield Bullet. Our teams looked for bikes with such stickers in Chattarpur Enclave and Mehrauli ,” said Chinmoy Biswal, additional DCP (south).

After a night-long operation, investigators found a bike with similar stickers. But the bike owner turned out to be innocent. “He did, however, tell us that Akash Choudhary, alias Ashu, had similar stickers on his bike,” an investigator said.

Police went to Ashu’s home and found him and his bike missing. They managed to locate him on Sunday morning and Ashu led the police to the place where he had parked his bike.

“We checked the bike and found the stickers had been peeled off. Ashu could not give any satisfactory reply when we confronted him with the video footage and asked him why he removed the stickers,” said Biswal. The stickers were found in Ashu’s pocket.

During interrogation, Ashu confessed to the crime and told about Singh, the prime accused. Singh and the minor boy were taken into custody and questioned. The three led the police to the farmhouse where they had dumped the victim’s body in bushes.

“Ashu’s Aadhar card was found near the boundary wall. It confirmed his presence at the crime scene and his role in the crime,” said an investigator. The card had fallen off when the three accused allegedly pushed the victim’s body into Mittal compound across a five-foot high wall. Navin and the teenager climbed the wall and pulled the body while Ashu pushed it upward.

Police are yet to recover the victim’s mobile phone from the drain where the three had dumped it after making the ransom call to his family.

How they committed the crime

Around 7pm on Saturday, the victim had left home on his scooter for a temple in Asola which he used to visit every Saturday, the victim’s uncle said. The three knew about his routine. They reached an eatery near the temple on Ashu’s Bullet and waited for him.

“The boy was returning home when Ashu stopped him and offered him a samosa. Navin said he wanted to sort out their differences. He suggested they go to a peaceful place near Mittal Garden,” said an investigator.

Ashu drove the teenager’s scooter while the latter rode pillion on Navin’s bike. They reached an isolated place where Navin strangled the teenager while the other two held his hands, the officer said.

The three then pushed the body into the Mittal compound across a five-foot high wall.

First Published: Oct 31, 2017 12:18 IST