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In the five days that Naresh Kumar — the main accused in 15-year-old Junaid Khan’s murder — spent in police custody, investigative agencies discovered that the bloodstained T-shirt they had hoped to retrieve had been “burnt” by the accused soon after the crime. On July 11, police had submitted an application in a Faridabad court seeking custody of Kumar for five days on grounds that they needed to recover his “bloodstained T-shirt”. Kumar had claimed it was hidden in his rented accommodation in Sakri in Maharashtra’s Dhule district, where he fled after the incident.
“While we were on our way to Maharashtra, Kumar admitted that he had actually burnt the garment soon after the crime in the hope of removing all evidence,” Kamal Deep Goyal, SP, Haryana Railway Police, said, adding that Kumar had burnt the T-shirt the day after the incident in his home in Bhamrola village.
On Sunday afternoon, Kumar was produced in court again, and sent to judicial custody till July 25. “Investigative agencies did not request for custody of the accused since they have completed investigation.The accused has been sent to judicial custody and is now lodged in Neemka jail in Faridabad, along with the other five men who were arrested earlier in connection with the murder,” Nibrash Ahmed, lawyer for the prosecution, said.
On June 22, Junaid was returning home to Ballabhgarh after Eid shopping in Sadar Bazar with three others. A fight over seats ensued in the Mathura-bound train the boys had boarded, with “15 to 20 people” allegedly hurling communal slurs at them. As the fight escalated, Junaid and his brothers Shaqir and Hashim were stabbed. Junaid succumbed to his injuries the same evening.
Police tracked Kumar down with the help of footage from a CCTV camera installed near Asaoti railway station, which showed him fleeing on a bike with two others. Police have, however, said the other two men were not involved in the incident. “We have eliminated the possibility of the other two men being involved in the incident. They only gave Kumar a ride to Palwal,” Goyal said, adding, “However, we are on the lookout for anyone else who may have been a part of the mob.”
Kumar had initially been remanded in police custody for two days, during which the murder weapon — a kitchen knife — was recovered. The shoes he was wearing on the day of the incident, and a gamcha he had on him, were also recovered. All items have been sent to a laboratory in Bhondsi, police said.