Over a month ago, sub-inspector Ravi, posted at Adarsh Nagar police station, received a tip-off about a young woman being hurriedly cremated after she died at home. When the SI and a head constable reached the cremation ground, they saw a woman’s body being settled on a pyre. In attendance were three people. “It seemed suspicious, so we didn’t let the family finish the last rites, and took the body for post-mortem,” said the SI.
On Sunday, the 18-year-old woman’s father Lakhan Mathur (50) was arrested from his house in Azadpur for allegedly murdering his daughter, Sheetal.
DCP (North West) Vijayanta Arya said, “We suspected the family because neither did they contact any doctor nor the police after the sudden death of their daughter. None of the other family members or neighbours were informed and the body was rushed to the cremation ground. A post-mortem was conducted at BJRM hospital, and we had been waiting for the report to confirm the cause of death.”
The report revealed several external injuries on the woman’s body. The injuries were ante-mortem in nature, said police.
“The cause of death was asphyxia due to manual strangulation… the woman’s father has confessed. He said that he disapproved of her relationship with a man who lives nearby,” said Arya.
The incident took place on the night of July 24, when Sheetal, a domestic help, returned home from work.
Her mother Tara (45) claimed Sheetal “was a weak girl who probably fainted after low blood pressure and was found inside her room”.
She claimed, “Her father didn’t approve of the relationship because the man doesn’t belong to our community. They would often fight about this, but she later agreed to marry a man we had chosen for her.”
Police said the man lived as a tenant near the woman’s home.
The man’s neighbour, Prashant (27), said: “The two had known each other for a year. They wanted to get married but her father had fixed her marriage to another man. Her family members had also beaten up the man after they found out Sheetal was planning to marry him in court.”
Apart from Mathur, a neighbour identified as Raju (30) was also arrested for Sheetal’s murder. DCP Arya said, “The two accused work in the same company and live nearby… his involvement is being investigated. Raju helped coordinate the funeral.”