A retired army officer, Major Rohit Sethi (64), who was decorated with the Vir Chakra for his heroics during the 1971 Indo-Pak War, was murdered at his residence in West Patel Nagar on Thursday morning.
By evening, police arrested four men in connection with the murder. According to police, among the arrested was Sethi’s caretaker, Ravi Yadav (21), who looked after the paying-guest facility at Sethi’s house. Police said Sethi had rented out 11 rooms in his building to paying guests.
Additional Commissioner of Police (Central) Alok Kumar said Ravi had been working for Sethi for the past two years and had planned the murder in order to rob the house. He enlisted the help of three others — Pintu Yadav (27), Arun Yadav (26) and a juvenile. Arun, police said, had worked as a domestic help with the Sethi household in the past.
Police were alerted of the incident after a help found the bedroom doors locked from outside on Thursday morning. Police said the woman alerted the neighbours. They along with Ravi unlocked Sethi’s room and found him unconscious on the bed. He was rushed to hospital where he was declared brought dead. Police said three days before the incident, the juvenile accused had come to work for Sethi as a cook.
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Police said the juvenile’s entry was well-planned by Ravi, who knew that Sethi and his aged mother were the only ones at home — his wife was in Singapore with their son, who works as a vice-president with Citibank.
“Ravi was looking to make some quick money. He had information that there was cash in the house related to a property deal. Ravi ensured that no photograph or contact details of the juvenile were given to Sethi. On the intervening night of June 11-12, Ravi and others served food laced with sedatives to Sethi who fell unconscious. He was then strangled,” Kumar said.
Kumar said three of the accused fled the house with the jewellery kept in the locker, but Ravi stayed back in order to mislead investigators. Police said the suspicion fell on Ravi after his call details revealed that he had made at least 21 calls to the juvenile accused’s cellphone. During questioning, Ravi failed to give any explanation about the calls and confessed to his crime, police said. The stolen jewellery has been recovered from the arrested men.
Prem Nagpal, who had last seen Sethi over dinner on Wednesday, said the murder may have taken place around midnight. “ I spoke to Kailash aunty (Sethi’s mother), who told me that the two had watched television till late night. Around 11.30 pm, both went to their rooms. Sethi’s face and abdomen had injury marks and his pillow had blood stains on it. They must have beaten him up,” Nagpal said.