A KURUKSHETRA resident, Jagdeep Malik, was arrested on Tuesday on charges of kidnapping and murdering his nephews – Sameer, 11, Samar, 4, and niece Simran, 8. All three were his cousin Sonu Malik’s children. Police said that Sonu Malik’s role too was under the scanner and they suspected that he hatched the conspiracy to get his children eliminated through Jagdeep. Sonu was being questioned till late in the evening.
The three siblings had been reported missing since Sunday morning from their native village Sarsa in Pehowa tehsil of Kurukshetra district in Haryana. Their bodies were recovered from two locations in the jungle near Tikkar Tal lake resort on Tuesday morning. Preliminary police investigation hinted at Sonu’s illicit relationship with a woman as the motive behind gruesome killing of his three children.
“Sonu is also in our custody and we are questioning him about his suspected role in the triple murder. Jagdeep has told us that he executed the crime at Sonu’s behest,” said a senior Kurukshetra police officer.
Kurukshetra SP Abhishek Garg told Chandigarh Newsline that the father had not been arrested yet, he was being questioned.
Sonu’s relative Rajesh Malik lodged a missing report of the three children with the Kurukshetra police on Sunday afternoon after Sonu’s wife Suman Devi raised the alarm. “She came to me and informed that her children had gone out of home in the morning to play in the village but did not return till afternoon. She suspected that Sonu might have done some harm to them. I went to the police station and lodged a missing report,” Rajesh Malik told Chandigarh Newsline.
The Kurukshetra police learnt that Sonu had a strained relationship with his wife Suman Devi. She alleged that Sonu had an illicit relationship with a Himachal Pradesh-based woman and suspected her husband to be behind the mysterious disappearance of her children.
On Monday night, the police detained both Sonu and Jagdeep for questioning. During their interrogation, Jagdeep confessed his crime and told the police that although Sonu hatched the conspiracy to eliminate his children, he executed the crime. Sonu works as a private photographer at Kaithal while Jagdeep is a second-year student of arts at a college in Kurukshetra.
On Jagdeep’s disclosure, a team of Kurukshetra police assisted by Panchkula police reached Morni jungle area and recovered all the three bodies.
“The three children were shot in the head at point blank range. Jagdeep shot them from behind and then hid the bodies in an attempt to destroy the evidence. An illegal country-made weapon was used to kill the three children. Bodies have been kept at Panchkula civil hospital mortuary,” said Inspector Parteek, Station House Officer, Pehowa, Kurukshetra district.
On Tuesday evening, Panchkula hospital sources said that one post-mortem was conducted while two more would be conducted on Wednesday.
“I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would live to see this day. I cannot believe that Jagdeep has murdered these innocent children,” said Jita Ram Malik, deceased children’s grandfather. He came with other villagers to Panchkula civil hospital where the bodies were kept.
According to the villagers who accompanied Jita Ram to Panchkula civil hospital on Tuesday, Sonu’s extra-marital relationship might be the reason behind the gruesome act. They alleged that Sonu must have planned the inhumane crime with Jagdeep.
“Sonu gave him [Jagdeep] the revolver and Jagdeep shot these kids dead after proper planning was done by both of them. A day before, they had visited Morni area and conducted a recce of the entire place. We have told all this to the police. They told us that they are investigating Sonu’s role,” alleged Baldev Singh, a villager from Sarsa who accompanied Jita Ram to the spot in Morni jungle area from where the bodies were recovered.
“The uncle [Jagdeep] has confessed to the police that he shot all of them in their head,” Baldev Singh said.
Both Jagdeep and Sonu had got posters of the three missing children printed and pasted them across the village and nearby areas. Their names and contact numbers were also mentioned on the posters. “They [Sonu and Jagdeep] were posing as if they were helping everyone trace Sonu’s missing children. They had been fooling all of us for the last two days,” Baldev Singh added.
Sonu had even fought with me a few months ago. “About 10 months ago, I had come to know about the girl with whom Sonu is having an affair. I had a heated argument with him when I tried to convince him that whatever he was doing with that girl was wrong. On the intervention of villagers, Sonu promised that he shall snap contact with that girl, who is from Himachal Pardesh,” Jita Ram said, adding that before Sunday, everything was normal and there was no argument in the family.
“It’s shocking how Jagdeep could do it. He was so attached to all the three children. He used to bring them sweets and clothes. He was treating them like his own children,” Jita Ram added.
What all happened Sunday
For Sameer, Simran and Samar, Sunday was supposed to be a special day with their favorite uncle. A day out in Kurukshetra to attend Gita Jayanti festival was promised to be filled with fun, laughter and a big treat. But little did the siblings know that this would be the last day of their lives, as the uncle whom they considered as their closest, and who used to treat them like his own children, allegedly murdered them in cold blood later in the day.
According to the police, Jagdeep brought the three children in his car and then shot them one by one. He first dumped bodies of Samar and Simran at one place and then dumped Sameer’s body at a distance. All three bodies were found dumped in two different locations.
The police added that he had procured a country-made weapon from somebody and the same weapon was used to execute the crime. “From where he procured the weapon, or was it Sonu who provided him the weapon — all these things are being investigated,” Inspector Parteek said.
At Morni from where the bodies were recovered, locales said it was very difficult for anyone to spot the bodies, because the area is covered with dense forest.