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Body of former ESC chief found in Gonda

THE DECOMPOSED body of ex-chairman of Electricity Service Commission (ESC) SK Sharma, who was kidnapped from his Mahanagar residence on April 4, was recovered in Gonda district on Tuesday. The police stated a dispute over Sharma not returning Rs 15 lakh to the accused was the motive behind his murder.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2006 01:20 IST

THE DECOMPOSED body of ex-chairman of Electricity Service Commission (ESC) SK Sharma, who was kidnapped from his Mahanagar residence on April 4, was recovered in Gonda district on Tuesday. The police stated a dispute over Sharma not returning Rs 15 lakh to the accused was the motive behind his murder.

The murder came to light after main accused Rohit Mishra, an MBA student, and his kin Bachcha Pandey were taken in police remand today.

The police recovered a Maruti Zen (UP 32 P-2130) and a Ford Ikon (UP 32 BC-9057) cars which were separately used first for kidnapping Sharma and then disposing of the body. A motorcycle (UP 32 AQ-2468) too was recovered from the possession of the accused.

SSP Ashutosh Pandey claimed that local residents had informed Colonelganj police of Gonda that they had seen some persons throwing a body into river Saryu on April 7 night. But, the local police instead of fishing out the body and making efforts to identify the deceased ignored the information. The body kept lying in the thickets on the bank of the river since then.

Significantly, the Gonda police kept the Lucknow police team, which visited Gonda searching for Pawan, in the dark about Pawan’s whereabouts. Soon, however, it arrested Pawan and sent him to jail under the Arms Act on April 21.
While the Lucknow police had sent main accused Rohit’s father Deovrat Mishra to jail on April 14, Rohit and Bachcha Pandey had surrendered before the court on April 20. The police also arrested Pandey’s brother Lalji on Tuesday for helping the accused in the incident.

In the course of interrogation, Rohit Mishra revealed that he had picked up Sharma from his house on the pretext of having a word on money matters on April 4. He later kept him in captibvity. He purchased a SIM card in the fake name of Alok Rai and made ‘ransom’ calls to the Sharma’s family.

They had summoned Sharma’s wife Savita, who was in Varanasi, to Lucknow along with cheque books of some banks on April 6. Rohit’s father had in fact gone to the bank along with Savita the same day to withdraw cash. But, the bank did not allow withdrawal of a hefty sum in Sharma’s absence. Therefore, Mishra had to return with Rs 2 lakh only. It was on April 7 night that the accused planned to eliminate Sharma as his wife had lodged an FIR about his disappearance at the Mahanagar police station.

The accused initially injected sedatives in Sharma’s body and later strangulated him to death. They later threw the body into the river. The Lucknow police meanwhile kept groping in the dark, even after Sharma’s servant revealed that Rohit had come the house to collect the cheque books on April 6. The cops, however, altered the case from missing to that of kidnapping on April 14. But they failed to trace any of the accused.