Four arrested for murders of working women in capital (Roundup)

March 24th, 2009 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Television journalist Soumya Vishwanathan and IT executive Jigisha Ghosh were victims of a gang of robbers who killed them apparently without any compelling motive. Delhi Police said it had arrested four men for murdering the young working women whose killings - one six months ago and one last week - had rocked the capital.
Police said the same people were behind the killings of these two women who were done to death mysteriously after midnight as they were returning from work. Both were in their twenties.

Jigisha was found smothered to death last Friday just outside her apartment. Soumya had been shot dead Sep 30 last year in her car even as was 15 minutes from home.

“The gang was involved in over a dozen of robbery cases in south and southwest Delhi. Robbery was the motive behind both the murders and there was enough evidence to book them on murder charges,” said Delhi Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal at a press conference to announce the cracking of the two murder cases.

The four arrested men have been identified as Ravi Kapoor, resident of Madangir in south Delhi who was the head of the gang, Baljeet Malik, a resident of Masoodpur, Amit Kumar Shukla from Lado Sarai, and Ajay Kumar from Munirka. A fifth member of the gang that operated in south Delhi is said to be absconding. Ravi has been involved in many criminal cases in the past, police said.

Jigisha, 28, a resident of Vasant Vihar in south Delhi, had left her home for office in Noida Tuesday but did not return home, though her office cab had dropped her outside her apartment block where she lived. Her body was discovered by Faridabad police three km from Surajkund, about 20 km from her residence, Friday night.

Describing the sequence of event’s in Jigisha’s case Dadwal said: “She came home at 4.15 a.m. and was three metres from her CPWD colony home in Vasant Vihar. She was talking on the phone. The gang was cruising, looking for a target. On the pretext of seeking directions, they lured her to the car and took her in. They then took her ATM card, withdrew Rs.20,000 from Mahipalpur.”

The assailants then drove toward Saket where they again withdrew Rs.5,000. They drove toward Surajkund after that. Jigisha was told that she would be freed but fearing that she would recognise them later, the assailants smothered her to death and dumped her body on the roadside, Dadwal said.

The gang tried to spend the cash soon and shopped at markets in Sarojini Nagar and Saket. They were apprehended when a constable identified Baljeet Malik from CCTV footage recorded at an ATM in Saket.

Police traced the gang after Malik was recognised by a beat constable in Vasant Vihar following flashing of their pictures recovered from CCTV footage of a ATM.

“Working on a vital information, the gang was caught on Nelson Mandela Marg early Monday morning. Their Santro car had various stickers of senior officers and the gang was well-organised to commit crime,” said Dadwal.

According to police, it was during interrogation that they confessed to killing Soumya on the morning of Sep 30 last year.

Soumya, 25, was found dead in her car in Vasant Kunj area of south Delhi around 3.30 a.m. Sep 30 when she was returning from work to her home in Sector-C of Vasant Kunj.

The only evidence that Delhi Police has to prove that the gang was also involved in Soumya’s murder was from the murder weapon recovered from them, which is yet to verified by a forensic expert.

“The gang has confessed of killing Soumya and we have recovered the murder weapon and a stolen Wagon-R car used during the incident. The weapon has been sent to the forensic laboratory for verification and we will provide the details as and when we get it,” said Dadwal.

There remained many unanswered questions like why the gang did not steal valuables after shooting Soumya if that indeed was their sole motive.

Reconstructing the events in Soumya’s case, Dadwal said the gang members were drunk when they targeted Soumya.

“The accused got drunk at Amit’s place and were going to drop Ajay to his Munirka home. On the way, in front of the Vasant Vihar Priya complex, Soumya’s car crossed theirs. Amit told them to chase her. As they closed in her trying to stop her, Ravi took out his countrymade pistol and shot at point blank range. The bullet hit Soumya in the head. The gang turned the vehicle around to see that she had been hit, and fled the scene,” Dadwal said.

However, Soumya’s father was happy at that her daughter’s killers had been nabbed.

“I am very happy. I am satisfied with how the case was investigated. We have full faith in the police efforts,” Soumya’s father M.K. Vishwanathan said.

The police have recovered several hologram/car sticker of High Court judges, wireless phone sets and several keys of different vehicles.

A city court has sent all the three accused to judicial custody till April 28. They were produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Saurabh Pratap Singh and sent them to jail and also asked Delhi Police to have Test Identification Parade (TIP) on March 27.

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