Forty-five-year-old Archana Gupta, shot in the head during celebratory firing at a south Delhi farmhouse on Monday night, has been put on ventilator support and doctors are conducting tests to check brain functioning. According to sources at Fortis Rajan Dhall Hospital in Vasant Kunj, where Gupta is in the ICU, brain functioning has been severely impacted but test results are awaited for confirmation.
An architect by profession, Gupta is the vice-president (projects) at the real estate group, KPDK Buildtech. The group’s website states that Gupta “has practised architecture in India and abroad. She is also the faculty member of various prestigious architecture colleges”. Her husband, Vikas Gupta, is the president of the group. The real estate business is primarily managed by the Guptas, with Vikas, Archana and her brother Nishant in key roles.
As news of the shooting broke, family members of the Guptas gathered at the hospital. Her brother Nishant, a director in the real estate project, was among those who waited anxiously outside the hospital. “How can this be possible in a place like Delhi? All we know is that they both went to a party organised by Vikas’s friend. How can it be allowed to carry a gun like this?” said Meenakshi Poddar, a relative of the victim. “Her two children were sent home in the morning and given sleeping pills to rest. Archana’s parents can’t believe what has happened. We are just hoping she recovers. She has been so active,” said Poddar.
Meanwhile, police said that prima facie investigation revealed that former MLA Raju Singh, accused in the shooting, was drunk when he allegedly took out the pistol to shoot in the air, as many in the gathering were dancing.
Police sources said around 60 people had been invited by Singh and his two brothers. “They had made elaborate arrangements and the party was being held on the lawns. Police have questioned 38 people so far, and prima facie it appears that Raju whipped out his pistol around midnight and started firing in the air to celebrate. He fired two-three shots. The victim was on the dance floor with her friends, and appears to have been hit by a stray bullet,” an investigating officer said.
The FIR was registered on a complaint by her husband, who named the former MLA. “No one from the farmhouse called police about the incident; they only received a call from the administration of Fortis Hospital in Vasant Kunj after Archana was brought in with a gunshot wound by Vikas and Raju’s elder brother Sumit,” the officer said.
Police said Vikas, who lives near Hauz Khas, used to be in the pharmaceutical business with Sumit earlier. “Raju and his driver left before police could arrive; his driver has been booked too. He took the gun with him, and his family could not produce the weapon’s documents. Our investigation has revealed that five cases were registered against him in the past. His last phone location was somewhere in western Uttar Pradesh,” the officer said, adding that there were CCTVs in the farmhouse, but none were pointed towards the dance floor.
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