A restaurateur allegedly shot dead his wife while their two-year-old son was sleeping in her lap inside their car here and then tried to mislead authorities by claiming that she was killed by moneylenders harassing him, the police said on Thursday. The child was splattered in his mother’s blood as Pankaj Mehra shot his 34-year-old wife Priya Mehra near the Rohini jail while they were returning from the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, a senior police official said.
Pankaj Mehra, 35, then tried to mislead the police by claiming that his wife was killed by moneylenders who had been threatening him since he owed them money.
He also broke the window pane of the car and inflicted a wound on his forehead to make his claim look genuine, police said.
Pankaj Mehra had claimed that two men in a car intercepted their car near Rohini jail. One of them broke his his car window and got into a scuffle with him while brandishing a pistol, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northwest) Milind Dumbere.
During the scuffle, two rounds were fired and his wife was hit. But before the accused could attack him, Pankaj Mehra fled from there and took his wife to a private hospital where she was declared brought dead.
However, when the police analysed the CCTV footage from the area, they found only Pankaj Mehra’s car moving on the route and there was no vehicle visible on the route that was trailing his vehicle, said the DCP.
The evidence indicated that the woman had been shot at close range since the entry and exit wounds were at 180 degrees, the police said.
Pankaj Mehra was confronted with these evidences and he confessed in the wee hours today to killing his wife, the police said.
The accused had strained relations with his wife and the couple had gotten back for the sake of their two-year-old child a couple of months back, they said.
Pankaj Mehra was having an extra-marital affair and the couple had frequent fights over the issue and Priya had left him, police said.
The accused also was into heavy debt. He had two restaurants — one on Deshbandhu Gupta Road and one in Hudson Lane — but both had to be shut down since they ran into losses, the police said.
Presently, he was assisting a relative in his restaurant business.
He had tried to mislead police by claiming that Priya had wanted to see the residence of the moneylender who had lent him money and had been threatening him.
Pankaj Mehra told investigators that Priya wanted to see the residence so that if she has to file a police complaint against him in future, she can guide them to the accused moneylender, said an official privy to the probe.
However, this version was found to be quite improbable and led the investigators to doubt Pankaj Mehra.
He was quite confident that he would go scot-free and the police would catch hold of the moneylenders in connection with the killing of his wife. Pankaj Mehra had thought that he would get rid of his wife and frame the moneylenders for her killing but his plan was foiled.
The couple was married for 10 years and had celebrated their son’s second birthday last week.
Police are probing from where the accused had procured the illegal firearm. It is also being probed whether the accused had married the other woman despite being married to Priya or was in a relationship with her.
They are also investigating whether she privy to the plan to kill Priya.
Pankaj Mehra has claimed he threw the firearm while on his way to the hospital and it has not been recovered till now, police said.