Dead Man Walking….. !
By Maxwell Pereira
maxpk@vsnl.com

Constables Satender and Virendar on the Shahdara police station motor-cycle patrol could not believe their eyes when alerted by the PCR van Baker-3. Just a while ago they had covered this lane leading to Maujpur behind Ambedkar College, and not found anything untoward. But now the PCR staff had found this body staring them in the face from out of the blue. Obviously dumped there clandestinely, it had rope ligature marks on the neck. It was the night of April 13.

The usual formalities - an investigation officer from the police station, spot inspection, informing senior officers, looking for clues by the crime team, the dog squad trying to pick up possible scent, and local enquiries - all ensured as a matter of routine and meticulously, to precision. The police find nothing to go by; but a tailor mark on the victim's trouser: "RL Tailors, Kailash Nagar".

At Kailash Nagar, tailor Rajit Lal identifies the pant he stitched, but not the wearer. The police make enquiries locally, and find a labourer who remembers having seen a person wearing that particular trouser; he leads them to a house nearby; which in fact, turns out to be the very house of the victim, now identified as Maharajdeen Yadav. A lucky break!

Questioning at the house leads to information that Maharajdeen with friend Mohender of the same locality had left on 13th morning for Mohender's shop in Chandni Chowk. Having not returned since, a missing report was also lodged at the Gandhi Nagar Police station the same evening. Apparently Maharajdeen often kept company with Mohender.

Mahender's employees revealed that both had left Chandni Chowk in a TSR for some business, but did not return. A person had later come to the shop with Mohendar's keys though, to collect a packet of money from the almirah; ostensibly at Mohender's behest. Believing him, Prem Singh the shop assistant had allowed him to access the almirah and take the packet which had Rs.90,000/- in cash.

More enquiries, including technical scrutiny of Mohinder's cellphone records, lead to Virendar, among others, who had made calls to Mohinder's mobile. No time was lost in getting Virender - who eventually named another Rajender, a resident of Nishant Vihar, of Loni, Ghaziabad, UP. Tactful interrogation leads to initial disclosures indicting Rajender's hand in the killing of Mahender for the money in the almirah at the shop.

Piecing together bit by bit the police learn that both Mohender and Maharajdeen had been lured from Lal Qila in Virender's TSR to Rajender's at Loni in Ghaziabad on the pretext of a business deal. Three more people (later identified as Jahan Singh, Ramesh and Vinita) had joined them there and given effect to their plan. Maharajdeen and Mahender were given drugged cold drinks and strangled when unconscious. Mahender was taken in the TSR to Chilla Village in the area of PS New Ashok Nagar and dumped in the canal.

Maharajdeen's body was then similarly taken from Loni in the same TSR. The Loni police picket stops them for checking, but they manage to escape attention by accomplice Vinita posing as a distressed wife rushing an ill husband (Maharajdeen) to hospital. Once past the police picket, they manage to get rid of the body behind Ambedkar College.

The Police make efforts to locate Mahender's body, which proved to be a herculean task. It could be recovered only on April 20 after colossal effort, and the assistance from the staff of the Flood Control Department who tracked it down to the sluice gates in the catchments down stream the Yamuna river in the jurisdiction of New Friends Colony.

All along and despite efforts, Rajender evades the police dragnet spread out for his apprehension. So Virender's story believed by the police as true, is the one by which actions had to proceed. But Virender perhaps had not bargained for police thoroughness and efficiency in the expected follow up. While investigations had continued to locate and recover Mohender's body, simultaneous verification of antecedents of each of the dramatis personae involved and counter-checking of information provided, was on.

A police party that visited Kannoj to verify TSR driver Virender's antecedents were in for a surprise. Virender's fingerprints which they had carried along were found to be those of a deceased person on police records - "Teja Singh" @ Teja, a notorious criminal and history-sheeter of PS Saurikh, District Kannoj, UP. Records revealed that this man who had served in the Indian Army was dismissed from the Jat Regiment, and involved in 19 cases of robbery, murder and attempts to murder, kidnappings and riot, cases under the Gunda Act, Arms Act, the Gangsters Act and other miscellaneous offences committed in Utter Pradesh.

Thanks to a good piece of police investigation - the whole chain of events linked together and the plot unravelled from a single clue of a tailor mark that triggered the memory of a common labourer - unearthed not only the diabolical conspiracy leading to the commission of a double murder in which the victims' bodies were disposed off in totally unconnected places, …it also set off a chain of links that ultimately led to the resurrection of a dreaded 'dead' fugitive criminal, to bring him back into the clutches of the long arms of the law. Indeed a fascinating tale of yeoman service to the community rendered by a dedicated set of officers and men of Delhi Police.

850 words: 04.05.2004: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http:// www.maxwellperira.com and maxpk@vsnl.com

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