Car used in Soumya murder seized, auto lifter held (Lead)

April 6th, 2009 - 7:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) Delhi Police Monday said they have recovered a car which is a “vital evidence” in the murder of TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan.
An auto lifter, who had purchased the car used in last year’s murder of the TV reporter, has been arrested, the police said.

Ajay Sethi, the last absconding in the sensational murder, was held from Faridabad in Haryana Sunday.

“We have arrested Ajay Sethi and have recovered three cars - including one used by Ravi Kapoor, Amit Kumar Shukla, Baljit Malik and Ajay Kumar (the arrested accused) in the murder of Soumya,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (south Delhi) H.G.S. Dhaliwal.

“The car is a vital evidence in the case,” Dhaliwal added.

Soumya, 25, was found dead in her car in Vasant Kunj area of south Delhi around 3.30 a.m. Sep 30, 2008. She was shot in the back of her head while returning from work to her home in Sector-C of Vasant Kunj.

Last month, the police arrested Kapoor, Shukla, Malik and Kumar and seized the country-made weapon used in the crime. But the police failed to recover the Maruti WagonR car allegedly used by the suspected killers.

The police are now banking on circumstantial evidences, statements of the accused and witnesses and the weapon used in the crime. However, the illicit weapon used in the killing is yet to be sent for ballistic examination.

Dhaliwal said the car had become a “hot potato” for the accused, as neither could they dispose of it nor use it.

“Kapoor sold the WagonR to Sethi without telling him that it was used in a murder. Before selling the car, Kapoor and his accomplices got it repaired and parked it at many places in the capital,” Dhaliwal said.

“Sethi, who buys stolen autos, came to know (about the car’s history) only after the arrest of Kapoor and others through media reports,” he added.

Last week, the police searched Sethi’s rented accommodation in Faridabad. But he managed to give them a slip. The police said he escaped to Haridwar, Dehradun before returning to Faridabad.

“In between, we found that he had packed his luggage and was preparing to flee from his palatial bungalow. We recovered 305 keys of various vehicles, fake number plates, locks of 23 cars, drilling machine from his house,” Dhaliwal said.

Sethi, 44, is a graduate from DAV College, Dehradun. He joined a criminal gang in 1989 and committed nine robberies in his native city.

The “sharp” criminal was arrested by the Dehradun police and Delhi Police four times for his involvement in various cases of robbery, cheating, fraud, auto theft and forgery.

“He came out on bail in 2003 and since then was purely focusing on the business of receiving stolen cars. Sethi used to dispose them to criminals in Meerut and Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh,” Dhaliwal added.

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