New Delhi: The way Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer Ankit Sharma was killed, his body mutilated and thrown into a drain, appears to be a case of “targeted murder” and not a death that occurred from injuries in a riot, the Delhi Police has claimed.
Sharma, 26, had left his home in Khajuri Khas around 4 pm Tuesday to look for his brother Ankur who he feared may have got stuck in the riot.
It was at that time that he was allegedly dragged by a mob inside the office of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain and killed. Sharma’s body was then thrown in the drain, just 200 meters away from his house in Chand Bagh.
Sharma’s family has accused Hussain of instigating the mob and getting Sharma killed.
Hussain, however, has denied the allegation and said that he himself was a victim of the riots and the mob had broken into his office.
A case of murder has been registered and Hussain named in it.
“Whatever may be the case, this is a targeted killing, a hate crime. We have registered a case in the matter and will be investigating it separately,” a senior police officer said.
“We have accessed the available CCTV footage from the area along with some video clips to identify the men. Hussain will be called in for questioning,” he said.
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The long night
Speaking to ThePrint, Ankit’s mother Sudha Sharma said he had returned from the IB headquarters in Chankyapuri at 4.30 pm, when he saw mobs running amok, armed with bricks and lathis, damaging shops and houses.
“Ankit got worried about his brother and told me that he was going to look for him. I told him to not step out and that I was making tea, but he left without saying anything,” she said.
When Ankit did not return home until 11.30 pm, his brother Ankur, who had already searched for him in the area and enquired about him at all possible places, decided to go to the police station to lodge a report.
Sudha, meanwhile, had made several phone calls to the PCR, all of which went unanswered.
“We were so helpless. There was a riot going on outside, my son was missing and I kept calling the PCR but there was no response from the police,” she claimed. “I then insisted that we go to the police station to file a report.”
When Ankit’s family reached the local police station in Khajuri Khas, they were asked to first check at the Trauma Centre in Kashmiri Gate where most of the riot-injured were being taken.
“They refused to write our complaint and asked us to go to the hospitals,” Ankur alleged. “We then went to the hospitals — Trauma and GTB, but did not find him there. We then again went to Khajuri Khas police station, but they told us to go to Dayalpur as it was not their jurisdiction.”
When the family went to Dayalpur, they were allegedly told that the police station’s computer was not working so they would not be able to register an FIR.
“Their computer was not working, so they just asked us to give a handwritten complaint but did not register a case. They then sent us to GTB again to identify a few bodies. By then it was 12.30 pm. When we could not find the body in GTB, we went back to Dayalpur requesting them to write our FIR,” Ankur said.
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‘Tahir Hussain did it’
After Ankit’s family returned home at around 1:30 am, they again carried out a search operation in the area with the help of their neighbours.
It is then that some residents told them that Ankit was dragged into Hussain’s office and that the AAP councilor was responsible for his death.
“We were told that Tahir and his men dragged my brother and two others to his office and killed him. The people also told us that they saw the men throwing the bodies in the drain,” claimed Sonam, Ankit’s sister.
“At 7 am, we again went to Dayalpur police station and requested them to search the drain,” she added.
According to Sonam, it was around 10 am that a police party arrived and fished out Ankit’s body from the drain.
“It was completely mutilated. How can a human being be so cruel? His eyes were popping out, face was disfigured and neck slit with a knife,” she said.
“Tahir has now run away from his home. He should be brought to book. All we need is justice.”
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‘I’m a victim too’
AAP councilor Tahir Hussain claimed that he himself was a victim of the riot and had called the police when a mob barged inside his office.
“This is dirty politics. My name is being dragged. I was the one who called the police after a mob started gathering outside my office. They broke the gate, despite a group of us trying to push them back,” he alleged.
He claimed that when the police arrived, they checked his office and the terrace and rescued him from there to take him to a safer place.
“I told the police that my office was under attack and that they should not remove the force from there. When the police left, a mob again attacked,” Hussain claimed.
“Such is the fear that I am myself living elsewhere. I swear on my children, I did not do it.”