Panchkula triple murder: Motive may be property, not father’s affair, say police
A man allegedly shot dead three of his cousin brother’s children at Sarsa village in Haryana’s Kurukshetra this weekend because he was eyeing about 12 acres of farmland owned by their father, police said on Thursday.
The property motive gave a dramatic twist to the gruesome triple murder as the suspect, Jagdeep Malik, had initially alleged that the children’s father, Sohan Malik, or Sonu, asked him to kill them to clear the way to marry a woman with whom he was suspected to be having an extramarital affair.
Jagdeep had told police that Sonu promised to pay him handsomely after his second marriage.
But police were not convinced with Jagdeep’s alleged confession when he was arrested after the bodies of 11-year-old Sameer, Simran and Samar, aged eight and three, were found in a forest in Morni on Tuesday, nearly 110km away from their village.
The 26-year-old Jagdeep, father of a three-year-old child, was remanded in police custody as investigators suspect he was hiding the truth.
Sonu, a photographer who runs a studio in Kaithal, was also questioned at length but the cops have no evidence to implicate him.
According to officers investigating the murders, the case remains open-ended as the suspect has been changing his statements during interrogation.
“Jagdeep said he killed Sonu’s children, but he has changed his statement two-three times. He said Sonu had asked him to kill his children and fixed up a country-made pistol for him. But now he is saying he killed Sonu’s children for his property and had arranged for a gun himself,” a senior officer said.
Police are also investigating the death of Jagdeep’s younger brother, who died by suicide two years ago.
Sonu and Jagdeep’s families live opposite each other, with a street running in between. Jagdeep is said to be a “reserved person” with just a few friends in the village of 6,000 people.
Sonu’s father, 65-year-old Jeet Ram, said he had upbraided his nephew at least twice in the past for his unthrifty habits.
“Jagdeep purchased a car a few months ago and I objected as he borrowed money from a commission agent. Later he took a loan of Rs 20 lakh for a garment shop. Again I had an argument as I told him to stop wasting money,” Ram said.
According to him, Jagdeep became a spendthrift after his father’s death.
The two families are well-off as they have given their land, collectively 22 acres, on lease at Rs 45,000 an acre. Sonu’s children studied at a private school in Kurukshetra.
The families are maintaining cordial relations even after the murders as Jagdeep’s wife, Rekha, their son and his sisters are staying in Sonu’s house for the past two days.
“I want maximum punishment for the killer,” Rekha said sitting next to Suman, the three children’s mother.
Police have yet to reach a conclusion as the case is leading to different angles.
Kurukshetra police superintendent Abhishek Garg said: “Jagdeep was changing statements but police are working to find out the actual motive.”
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