He faked his own death to start a new life with another woman. Presumed dead by his wife and children after his car went up in flames on May 1 in Greater Noida, RTI activist Chandra Mohan Sharma, all this while, was living in Bangalore with another woman, police said. He has been arrested and being questioned.
Police said Sharma, during interrogation, claimed that the body found charred beyond recognition in his car was that of a mentally challenged beggar, whom he saw outside a mall in Greater Noida. Sharma claimed he, helped by a relative of the woman, strangled him to death, placed the body in the driver’s seat and then set the car afire.
Sharma, who had changed his physical appearance by shaving off his hair, was detained on August 26 from Honda factory in Bangalore by Noida Police, who subsequently also detained the woman he was living with from their house in Bangalore.
“The woman he was living with in Bangalore used to live close to his house in Greater Noida. She too has been brought back, though not arrested. Incidentally, on June 7, roughly a month after Sharma’s car went up in flames, an FIR had been registered over her disappearance following a complaint by her family, who, though suspicious that she could have run away with Sharma, did not name him in their complaint as he was presumed dead,” a police officer said.
Police said Sharma had married the woman a year ago in a temple and that he fell out with his wife because of his relationship with the woman, who is in her mid-twenties. “He wanted to start a new life,” the officer said.
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According to Dr Preetinder Singh, SSP (Gautam Buddh Nagar), Sharma had bought three litres of petrol on April 30 to fake his death. He claimed to have got help from a relative of the woman for executing the crime. Police said the relative in question was yet to be arrested.
“Sharma told police that he along with the relative strangled the beggar with a belt, placed him in the car along with a few of Sharma’s belongings, poured petrol on the car and set it ablaze. The same night, he left for Bangalore, from where he informed the woman that he was alive. He came back on June 7 to take her to Bangalore,” Singh said.
Police first got hints that Sharma could be alive after the woman’s family told police on August 9 of a call they had received from an unknown person, informing them that their daughter was seen near Tirupathi Balaji and that they should come to fetch her. Similar calls were received by the family on August 12 and 13, according to police.
“According to what Sharma has revealed to us during preliminary interrogation, he made those calls himself after realising that the life he had planned with the woman in Bangalore was not turning out to be as convenient as he had hoped. So, he wanted to send her back and restart his life somewhere else. But, we traced those calls to public telephone booths at a couple of locations in Bangalore. Soon, a team was dispatched to investigate, leading to his arrest,” an officer said.
According to Singh, when local people around the phone booths in Bangalore were shown Sharma’s pictures and inquiries made, they informed police of a man dressed in Honda workers’ uniform they had seen in the area. This was further confirmed from CCTV footage. When police found out that a Honda factory was indeed located at some distance, they went over there, poring through the database of employees.
“Based on the inputs police gave to the administration at Honda and Sharma’s pictures, the search was narrowed down to one Nitin Sharma, who claimed to hail from Hisar. Police detained him after work and, after sustained interrogation, he confessed that he was Chandra Mohan Sharma. Incidentally, he also has a tattoo on his arm, saying ‘Chandra Mohan, Savita, Bunty’. He had altered his marksheets and birth records in order to get the job at Honda factory in Bangalore, having worked at Honda already in Greater Noida,” Singh said.
Singh said one of the reasons why Sharma was dissatisfied with his new life was that he was earning a little over Rs 9,000 per month in Bangalore against the over Rs 40,000 that he earned in Greater Noida because of which he found it difficult to make ends meet.
According to police, while in Bangalore, Sharma did not forget his first wife. “He was counting on the insurance money that she was likely to receive,” an officer said.
Singh said police would seek more time from court to interrogate Sharma. “The information we have is from preliminary interrogation. He has to be put through sustained interrogation, so we will present him in front of the court and ask for more time. All others whose names are cropping up too will be questioned,” he said.