From The moment Piyush Shyam Dashani reported the “kidnapping” of his wife Jyoti, the Kanpur police treated him with suspicion. For one thing, he said she had been kidnapped at 11.32 pm on July 27 but reported it an hour later. Again, he had no injuries though he reported having been in a scuffle.
Investigations that night, during which Jyoti was found stabbed to death in Piyush’s car, and on subsequent days, when police scanned CCTV footage from a restaurant and call records, threw up inconsistencies in Piyush’s statements and unearthed a plot that involved hired, nonprofessional killers and a love affair that began before his marriage and continued after it.
Piyush, 29, son of Om Prakash Shyam Dashani whose businesses include a franchise for Parle G biscuits, was arrested last week along with his girlfriend Manisha Makhija and four men allegedly hired to kill Jyoti.
Piyush, who was looking after two factories, and Manisha, daughter of a gutkha manufacturer, are next-door neighbours at Pandu Nagar but their kundalis apparently didn’t match. In November 2012, Piyush married Jyoti, 27, daughter of a Jabalpur-based businessman dealing in plastics, but continued to see Manisha, police said.
Of the four alleged killers, Avadesh Chaturvedi once worked as a driver in Manisha’s home and was living half a kilometre away, at Ram Charan ki Madiya. So were the other three — sweetshop workers Ashish Kashyap and Sonu Kashyap, and driver Renu Kanojia. Piyush allegedly hired them for Rs 50,000 and advanced them Rs 30,000 in two instalments.
DIG (Kanpur range) R K Chaturvedi said police have evidence against the accused men, besides their confessions. Senior SP (Kanpur) K S Emmanuel said Manisha was aware of the plot.
By Piyush’s account at Swaroop Nagar police station, he and Jyoti were driving home after dinner at Verandah restaurant when they were waylaid by eight men on four motorcycles — “a few of them had long beards and were wearing caps” — who dragged him out and drove off with Jyoti in the car.
Jyoti’s mobile remained switched on, still inside the car. With the help of the state STF, city police traced the signals to Panki, about 10 km from the site of the alleged abduction. The Honda Accord provided the police with the first of Piyush’s inconsistencies. He had said the attackers had banged against the car, forcing him to stop, but the police found it without damage.
Jyoti lay dead in the back seat, having been stabbed 14 times, as the postmortem would later find. Her jewellery — ear-tops and three rings — was gone. Inside the car were three knives, not bloodstained, while a fourth knife, the one with which she was actually stabbed, is yet to be traced.
The jewellery would be found after the arrests, hidden in a park nearby.
In May, Piyush continued…