Five days after the first arrest was made in the murder of 15-year-old Junaid Khan, who was stabbed to death on a Mathura-bound train, Haryana Railway Police arrested four others.
Police said one of the four arrested is a 50-year-old, a “mid-level Delhi government employee”, while the remaining three are in the 24-30 age group and work in factories in Ballabhgarh. All four, police said, hail from the same village near Palwal’s Hodal area.
Superintendent of Police Kamaldeep Goyal said: “Four people have been arrested in relation to the crime this evening. But we cannot reveal their identities because the identification parade is still pending and we do not want to compromise the investigation.”
“The accused arrested have also given us important clues and details about the identity of the main accused who stabbed the boys (junaid and his brothers) and we are doing everything in our power to nab him as well,” Goyal said.
Sources said that the four men had been identified by Junaid’s brother Hashim and two friends who were with them when the incident occurred.
Confirming this, Hashim said: “They called us to the police station, and we entered the room to see around 50 people. I identified one of the men immediately, grabbed his hand and told police that he was in the crowd, and then he told them about three others who were with him at the time.”
The incident took place on the evening of June 22 while Junaid and three others were on their way home to Ballabhgarh after Eid shopping in Sadar Bazaar in Delhi. An argument that began over seats escalated and the boys were subjected to communal taunts, even called beef-eaters. Junaid and his brothers were later stabbed.
Police claimed that the four men confessed to “manhandling and abusing” the boys but maintained they did not wield the knife that killed Junaid.
“Questioning of the accused and eyewitnesses has revealed that the older man boarded the train at Okhla station with another man from his village, and got into an argument with the boys over seats. Three or four more men from the same town, among them the younger men who we have arrested, boarded the train at New Town and Ballabhgarh and joined the argument,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohinder Singh said.
“The fight continued for three-four minutes after Ballabhgarh, and Junaid and his brother sustained injuries,” he said.
Police had made the first arrest in the case on Friday — 35-year-old Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Palwal who worked at a factory in Ballabhgarh, was taken into custody. He was initially believed to be the main accused but police said this claim was contradicted during questioning in police remand. He was produced in court on Tuesday and sent to Neemka Jail, Faridabad.
“He had initially told us that he had committed the murder. But when we questioned him in police remand, he took back his words. We are now searching for the main accused,” Singh said.
Haryana Railway Police had announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh last week for anyone who could provide credible information on the incident.
“The four new arrests have been made through leads procured from our own sources and investigations, and not through anything seen in the CCTV camera footage,” SP Goyal said. “The accused will be produced in court in Faridabad on Thursday and sent to judicial custody.”