A sessions court on Thursday sentenced three men to life imprisonment for killing a 15-year-old boy, who allegedly eloped with the daughter of one of the accused. Gulab Yadav, along with his brother Subhash and friend Chandraprakash Yadav, had kidnapped Abhishek Yadav from the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) and later murdered him on the outskirts of Mumbai in 2014.
Additional sessions judge Shayana Patil held the three men guilty of murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence. She, however, acquitted Gulab’s brother Subedar, who the prosecution claimed had instigated his brothers. While the boy was murdered in May 2014, the girl committed suicide soon after learning that her family had killed her boyfriend.
According to the prosecution, on May 28, 2014, 15-year-old Abhishek and 19-year-old Risu alighted from the Pawan Express at LTT. At the station, the men kidnapped the two. Subhash had roped in an autorickshaw driver known to him to pick them up. The autorickshaw driver, who was the prime witness in the case, had said during his deposition in court that the men asked him to take them to Kandivali.
On the way, Subhash slapped the boy twice. When the driver asked him why the boy was being beaten up, the girl’s father Gulab told him that he had eloped with his daughter. “Gulab said the boy had ruined his image in society, at their village. He said ‘Meri izzat mitti mey mila di (he dishonoured me)’,” the witness had told court.
On the way, Gulab and Subhash were continuously talking on the phone, informing someone that the two had been found. They further directed the driver to take them to Nallasopara on the outskirts of Mumbai as they had relatives there. On the way, they stopped at a dhaba and told Chandraprakash to wait there with the girl, while they dropped the boy and came back.
They again took the boy in the autorickshaw and drove a short distance further. The driver told the court they again asked him to stop, this time for a toilet break. Gulab and Subhash then took the boy towards a hillock. The two men returned after 15-20 minutes without Abhishek. They told the driver they had killed the boy and told him to keep quiet about it. Once back in the auto, the driver also heard them talk among themselves about whether they had verified the boy was dead. They then called Chandraprakash and picked him up on the way back along with the girl.
Meanwhile, Abhishek’s father, Vijay Yadav, who is a constable with India Reserve Battalion, was informed about his son having eloped with a girl. A boy, who was with the couple on the train, had informed Abhishek’s family that after they alighted at LTT, he had seen the girl’s father and uncle accompany them. Vijay eventually approached the Kurla Government Railway Police, who began the investigation. They located the autorickshaw driver, who disclosed the incident on June 22 after which the men were arrested.
On June 15, however, the boy’s body had already been found at the Nallasopara spot where he was murdered after members of a nearby housing society complained of a foul smell. With the identity of the body unclear till then, it was buried. After the murder case was cracked, it was exhumed for confirmation of identity. State prosecutor Sulbha Joshi had examined over 19 witnesses in the case.
Before the case was solved, the police had recorded the statement of Risu, who had told the police that she was told that Abhishek was dropped at a relative’s place in Nallasopara.
The girl was eventually taken back to her village in Jaunpur district of UP. She had stated that there was an attempt to kill her by drowning her in a well. The girl, however, survived but was soon sent to a relative’s home. A family member said that after the girl realised that her family members had killed Abhishek, she committed suicide. Abhishek’s father, who was present in court on Thursday, said he was satisfied with the court’s verdict. “It was a case of honour killing and I wanted the men to be given stern punishment. I am satisfied that they will have to spend the rest of their lives in prison,” he said.
Since the incident, Vijay, who continues to work as a constable with the IRB, had been keeping close tabs on the trial. “I have not returned home for a long time now to ensure that I had enough leave to come to Mumbai for the case. My wife and two daughters continue to remain disturbed about the incident. The men continued to threaten us even after the case began. So, I wanted to be here to see the outcome of the trial,” he said.