LOSSES IN his real estate business drove a BTech graduate from Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) to try and steal an SUV from Ankit Chauhan — a software techie from Noida — to repay his debts and allegedly led to the latter’s murder, the police said on Friday while claiming to have solved the two-year-old murder case.
Chauhan, a software engineer who worked with Accenture, was shot dead in Noida on April 13, 2015 when he was on way home. In a joint operation, the UP Special Task Force (STF) and CBI arrested Shashank Jadon, 25, an engineering graduate from DCE, and Manoj Kumar, 35, who drove an Ola cab.
Both are Ghaziabad residents, and were arrested late Thursday evening, the police said. “Following interrogation, it was revealed that they wanted to steal a Toyota Fortuner (SUV),” Inspector General (UP STF) Amitabh Yash said. “Shashank said that besides him, Manoj and Pankaj were involved.” Pankaj, a common acquaintance of the two arrested, had died of liver disease at a Ghaziabad hospital a few months ago, the police said.
According to police, two vehicles — a white Honda Accord used by the alleged assailants and a Fortuner — have been recovered. They said CCTV footage and witness statements suggest that a white Accord was used by assailants. “Besides, an eyewitness told police that the person who pulled the trigger had two tatoos on his arm — Shashank has tattoos on left arm,” the officer said.
The murder weapon — a licensed revolver that belonged to Pankaj — has not been recovered so far, Yash said. According to the officer, Shashank had taken a loan of Rs 4 lakh from Pankaj for his real estate work but suffered losses. As pressure mounted, Pankaj allegedly offered a proposal to repay the debt. “He said that a person from Saharanpur wanted an SUV to be stolen.
Shashank was told they will get Rs 8-10 lakh if they were successful…and the debt could be settled,” Yash said. On April 13, 2015, the accused allegedly drove around Noida looking for a vehicle that could be stolen. “They spotted a Toyota Fortuner car parked near Accenture office and saw two men getting in it. They started following the vehicle, overtook it and shot at the driver (Chauhan),” Yash said.
“Then they opened the door of the car and tried to pull the driver out. But the driver had his seat belt on; Shashank tried to unbuckle it but was unsuccessful. In panic, he rushed back to the (assailants’) car and fled.”