A quiet youth from a Muzaffarnagar village of school dropouts and Facebook addicts who was trying to turn his life around. A middle-aged mother of three who had taught herself how to use her daughter’s laptop. MILIND GHATWAI in Jabalpur & PRITHA CHATTERJEE in Pachanda Khurd trace their paths, how these crossed on the Internet, and how it led to a tragic end.
A cramped house with 14 members of a joint family jostling for space and privacy with a couple of caged parrots and a dog is an unlikely setting for a love affair to blossom, much less to remain secret for long.
If a 22-year-old’s incoherent account recorded in his dying moments on a hospital bed is right, a story of love and betrayal began in this two-storey unremarkable house in Punjab Bank Colony, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, from where a Facebook friend began chatting with him more than two years ago.
Nearly a thousand kilometres away, in Pachanda Khurd village of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, he was a loner among his extended family of 16. Privacy was a luxury even at night, when he and eight other cousins would spread cots out in the courtyard to sleep. His father’s grocery shop sold coupons for mobile charges but he had never owned a computer. Struggling to clear his Class XII — one of only three people in his family to pass Class X — he would instead spend hours on the phone.
What brought Jyoti Kori, 43, of Jabalpur and Vinit Kumar Singh, 22, of Muzaffarnagar together and then resulted in their deaths at Jabalpur’s Dhuandhar Falls, a spot known as a lovers’ haunt, is now being pieced together from his last words, from what the police say they have found, and from the dots their families are joining together.
Based on Vinit’s dying declaration, recorded by doctors on duty and later by policemen, investigators claim he met Jyoti for the first time on April 18, and then shot her and himself after realising that the woman he was in love with was nearly double his age, married and a mother of three, her eldest daughter being his age. Jyoti died on the spot, while Vinit succumbed to his injuries a few hours later at the Government Medical College.
It’s unclear if the 22-year-old mistook the profile picture of well-known TV actor Sanaya Irani on Jyoti’s Facebook page as her own or knew that she looked much different.
Police say he brought a country-made pistol along continued…