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Panchkula triple murder suspect a loner, began bingeing after brother’s death

The accused claimed to have committed the crime to usurp his cousin’s 12 acres of farmland.

india Updated: Nov 24, 2017 19:58 IST
Neeraj Mohan
Neeraj Mohan
Hindustan Times, Kurukshetra
Panchkula triple murder,Siblings murder,Himachali woman
Dhanno Devi, the children’s 58-year-old grandmother, had said her son got rid of his three children because of an extramarital affair.(HT Photo)

The man suspected of killing his cousin brother’s three children in Sarsa village of Haryana’s Kurukshetra on Sunday is said to be a loner, who was allegedly drinking heavily and spending lavishly lately.

Shocked villagers said the 26-year-old Jagdeep Malik was a “reserved” person and didn’t have a single close friend in a village of more than 6,000 people.

But he was close to the children of his cousin, Sohan Malik, or Sonu, and often used to indulge them at a popular sweetshop in the village, according to neighbours.

“We never heard him scolding them and his alleged confession surprised the entire village,” his sister said.

Jagdeep 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 kids disappeared on the weekend.

He initially alleged that Sonu asked him to shoot the kids dead to clear the way to marry a woman with whom he was suspected to be having an extramarital affair. He changed his statement, saying he committed the crime as he wanted to usurp his cousin’s 12 acres of farmland.

He later said his next target was Sonu, a photographer who runs a studio in Kaithal.

Police are not convinced with his statements. An officer investigating the crime said Jagdeep was trying to mislead police by changing his statements like professional criminals.

The man remains a mystery for the village, more so because he has no previous criminal record.

Jagdeep, father of a two-year-old child, is a farmer and recently enrolled in Kurukshetra’s Bhagwan Parsuram College to complete his graduation.

The two families lived opposite each other across a village lane and maintained close ties. They still do, as Jagdeep’s wife Reena, his son, and his three sisters are staying at Sonu’s home after police arrested him.

Though a recluse, people saw a dramatic change in his behaviour after his younger brother died by suicide about two years ago.

Sonu’s father, 65-year-old Jeet Ram, said his nephew changed a lot and he scolded him at least twice for his spendthrift ways.

“He had taken to drinking, and had taken a loan of Rs 20 lakh for a garment shop after borrowing money to buy a car,” he said.

His younger sister vouched for his lavish lifestyle.

“Jagdeep had a separate room on the first floor fitted with an air-conditioner, a big LED screen television and so on. We never saw anybody coming to meet him,” she said.

Jagdeep apparently was not interested in agriculture and had leased out his 11 acres to a sharecropper for Rs 45,000 an acre a year. He told his family that he wanted to complete his graduation.

The man used to leave in his car in the morning and return by nightfall.

First Published: Nov 24, 2017 19:57 IST