New Delhi: Four men alleged to have mowed down Sultanpuri resident Anjali Singh on New Year’s eve were drinking for several hours before setting out in a borrowed car to eat parathas at Murthal on the Delhi-Ambala Highway, ThePrint has learnt.
Amit Khanna (25), Mithun (26). Krishan (27) had gathered at a ration shop owned by Manoj Mittal (27), a businessman and lower-level functionary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), sources in the Delhi Police said.
None of the four men — unlike five extensively reported earlier — had a driving license, investigation revealed.
While Amit is a bank employee, Krishan is an employee of the Spanish Culture Centre. Mithun works as a hairdresser.
The revelry allegedly began from about 6pm to 10 pm, after which the group borrowed a car from Ashutosh, the brother-in-law of the vehicle owner Lokesh, and left for Murthal.
After dinner and possibly more drinks, the four returned on the same route, driving in the same direction which Anjali and her friend Nidhi in their scooty took between 1:40 am and 2 am, the sources said.
At 2:05 am, the Baleno rammed the scooty both sideways and front ways, resulting in Anjali coming under the wheels. Nidhi escaped as she fell on the side and didn’t inform the police. According to the police sources, the accused who were allegedly intoxicated reversed the car and that is when Anjali’s leg got stuck to the car.
“Her calf got stuck to the car axle and the accused dragged her around. Investigation has found that initially they just wanted to flee the scene but later realised that somebody was stuck in the car but didn’t stop and kept driving till Kanjhawala Mor. They had driven from Sultanpuri to Ladopur and then to Kanjhawala Mor. Even after the body fell off, they kept driving but avoided the border as there were checkpoints and police pickets,” one of the sources said,” one of the sources said.
Anjali’s body, the sources, said fell off near Kanjhawala Mor when the car drove round in circles.
According to the police, they returned the car and then along with Ashutosh and Amit’s brother Ankush hatched a plan to make it look like their cousin Deepak Khanna (26) was behind the wheel as they didn’t have a driving license.
Police have converted Section 304A (death due to negligence) to 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after investigation revealed that the accused were aware that a body was stuck under the car.
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Four not five, no driving license
There were actually four men in the car and not five, and that Deepak never went to the shop to drink, the police said Thursday. The roles of two more men, Ashutosh and Ankush Khanna (brother of Amit Khana who is already in custody), have surfaced and efforts are being made to nab them, Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Sagar Preet Hooda said.
Deepak, a cousin of Ankush and Amit Khanna, was actually not behind the wheels as earlier reported, the police said, adding that he was at his house at the time of the accident.
Call records have revealed that Deepak, a professional auto driver with the Gramin Seva, was called up to allegedly conspire that he was the one driving the car as he alone had a driving licence, they said.
Asked whether the 7 men understood the criminal law, the source said all the men were “cognizant of the fact that driving without license would add more IPC sections”. “Deepak underestimated the gravity of the situation and agreed to help out his cousins,” the source said.
It was Amit who was allegedly driving the car that mowed down Anjali and purportedly dragged her body for about 12 km, the police said.
“All of them — the four men as well as Ashutosh and Ankush — tried to mislead the police by claiming Deepak was the driver. Both Ashutosh and Ankush had full knowledge but misled the police,” the source said.
It was only after sustained custodial interrogation, analysis of CCTV footage that the investigators found that Amit was driving the car. Details of calls between the accused and Deepak were analyzed, while forensic teams examined the car and the crime scene.
Also Read: ‘Not an accident but murder’ — relatives of Sultanpuri victim, angry locals demand justice
How they avoided police
Even as two PCR vans were stationed on the accident route and another in Aman Vihar, the sources said, the four men were careful not to speed or play loud music to avoid suspicion. Moreover, the police said that the accused avoided the main roads, and intense fog created hindrance in identifying the Baleno. Anjali’s body was found more than 2 hours after the accident.
Moreover, PCR callers mentioned about a longer stretch of the route and the fog only made the police’s job of tracing the car tougher.
The body disentangled about 4 am after being dragged for 12 km from Sultanpuri to Kanjhawala, the police said, adding that a PCR call was received around 4:10 am about it being found in Jaunti village.
An earlier call alerted the police that a body was being dragged under a car around 3:30 am.
The four men parked the car at Ashutosh house’s in Rohini around 4:40-4:50 am and left for their homes in an auto, the police source said. CCTV footage accessed by ThePrint shows the men dropping the car and leaving in an auto.
“They disclosed to Ashutosh and Ankush that they had hit someone in an accident. It was then decided that they will tell the police that Deepak was behind the wheels as he had a licence,” another police source said.
“Deepak initially did not realise (the gravity of their offence), but they did flee the spot. Secondly, they saw the body falling off. It is impossible that four occupants had no knowledge of the body stuck under the car for 12 km.”
(Edited by Tony Rai)
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