A young engineer was strangled allegedly by his three friends in west Delhi for getting hold of the money the victim's father got in a land deal, the police said on Friday.
Johny Gupta, 23, who works as a site engineer with a private company, was murdered on the night of April 3 hours after his close friend Anoop, 25, allegedly took him to a godown in Kamruddin Nagar in west Delhi's Nihal Vihar, they said. Anup, a marketing executive, and his friends Anil, 26, a tempo driver, and Avinash, 36, the godown owner, were arrested, R S Krishnaiah, joint commissioner of police, said.
According to the police, the murder took place at around 9 pm on April 3 and the family received a ransom call of Rs 1 crore later. The police claimed they received the information about the victim being missing around 11:30 pm that night "The deceased's father had received some money on a land deal. Anoop, the mastermind, and his friends wanted to get hold of that money and they executed the murder," Krishnaiah claimed.
Giving the sequence of events, he said, Gupta, who holds a diploma in civil engineering was last scene at Keshavpuram on April 3 6:30 pm with one of his friend Ashok.
Checking of Gupta's call records showed that after that he had received a call from Anoop and that the ransom call was made from the deceased's phone. Anoop was questioned the next day but he "initially tried to mislead" investigators but later broke down and confessed to the crime, Krishnaiah said.
"Anoop had asked Gupta to come near Punjabi Bagh fly over on the fateful day. Gupta was made to park his motorcycle at Peeragarhi metro station from where both went to the godown owned by Avinash on Anoop's motorcycle," he said.
"Anil and Avinash were waiting for them at the godown. Gupta tried to leave the place later but was not allowed. The trio strangled him. After murdering him, a ransom call of Rs 1 crore was made to his family at around 11:30 pm," Krishnaiah said. They allegedly buried him inside the godown and even put salt on it so that the body decomposed faster, he claimed.
Investigators said the ransom call was traced to Wazirpur area and that there were no second ransom call. Following Anoop's questioning, the body was recovered as well as the deceased's mobile phone. The victim's brother claimed, "The abductor called and asked for Rs 1 crore ransom. He said if you want him safe, don't inform police or media."
The brother alleged that police did not register a case at the first place. The police denied the allegations.
"The murder took place around 9 pm. We were informed about the missing of Gupta at 11:30 pm. When the ransom call came, we added charges of abduction in the case. "There was no chance to save the victim as he was killed before we were informed," Krishnaiah said.
Romil Baaniya, additional deputy commissioner of police (northwest), claimed Anil arranged for 40 kg salt to facilitate rapid decomposition of the body and Avinash, an MCom degree holder, offered to detain Gupta at his rented semi-constructed godown. "Anoop had left the place on pretext of some work. At around 9 pm when Gupta tried and insisted to leave, Anil and
Avinash both resisted. During this struggle both Avinash and Anil strangulated Gupta using a wire and then buried his body in the pit, which they have already dug up a week back," Baaniya said.
To enable a rapid decomposition, they allegedly put salt over his body. "While moving out, they took purse, mobile and cash from Gupta's body. When they reached Wazirpur, they made the ransom call using Gupta's mobile to his father Ravinder Kumar. They were planning to call Ravinder Kumar father of the deceased in the night asking him to board Gomti Express from Delhi to Lucknow and were planning to receive the ransom amount during the journey. However, they were arrested before they could make this call," Baaniya said.
Avinash had worked as a teacher in a college in Sikohabad, he added.