A 19-YEAR-OLD youth, son of a jewellery shop owner, was murdered allegedly by three persons, who fled after looting jewellery worth Rs 50 lakh from the shop in Kalka late evening on Monday.
Shubhanshu Verma, 19, was the youngest son of Jagdish Verma whose jewellery shop is located in the main market of Kalka. The family has run the shop for the past few generations, after they took it on rent from a Shimla-based businessman. The alleged thieves took all the jewellery items, which included nearly 1.25 kg gold and 9 kg silver, totally worth around Rs 50 lakh.
The incident took place around 1:40 am, when Shubhanshu was sleeping inside the shop on a mattress with the AC on and the shutters of the shop were down. There were six CCTV cameras installed inside the shop, of which only three recorded the incident. The others were either damaged or their direction were changed by the suspects, the police said.
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According to the police, there were three suspects, of whom two broke into the shop, while the third waited outside. There is a narrow alley along the shop leading to a vacant plot behind it, which is used as a dump yard. The suspects broke the lock of the door leading to the alley, where they used a wooden door to climb up on the roof of the shop. The roof was not cemented and was made of tin.
Using a gas cutter attached to a commercial gas cylinder, they cut the tin roof and broke into the shop. The CCTV footage recovered by the police shows the two accused who had their faces covered with a cloth. One of them allegedly pinned down Shubhanshu who was sleeping, while the other one, who was carrying a torch in one hand, hit him on the head over ten times.
Both of them began collecting the jewellery items and put it in a large plastic bag. Face of one of the accused could be seen. The entire incident took at least an hour and they fled through the opening in the tin roof around 2:20 am. Apart from jewellery, the accused also took away Shubhanshu’s iPhone.
The owner, Jagdish Verma, lived around 2 km away from the shop in Kalka. “He (Shubhanshu) would wake up at 7 am and come home. But today, he did not come. So, I called on his cellphone, but it was switched off. I tried several times, after which I went to the shop at 8 am and opened the shutter to find him lying in a pool of blood,” said his father, Jagdish.
As the shop was located near a vacant plot and had a tin roof, one member of the family used to remain inside the shop during night hours. “Earlier I used to sleep, but ever since I was diagnosed with a heart problem, Shubhanshu started staying inside the shop,” said Verma.
The police reached the spot at 9 am.
“Although the suspects had tried to damage the CCTV cameras, we were able to recover the CCTV footage which shows two suspects. The registration number is not clear, but we have issued alert at all nakas about a car they may have used,” said ACP Rajesh Kumar.
A case under Section 460 (house-breaking by several persons during night where death or grievous hurt caused by one of them) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The body was handed to the family after post-mortem.
Recalling the date precisely, the owner of the shop, Jagdish Verma spoke of an incident in the past. A suitcase was found abandoned near the shop entrance on September 2, 2012. “I came to open the shop, when I had noticed the suitcase. It was a large suitcase… I informed the police,” said Verma.
The suitcase contained gas cutters, cylinder and other machinery which the three accused had used in the crime committed on Monday. Verma had also submitted a police complaint then. “But no action was taken,” he alleged.