On some days, he was Rahul; on others, he preferred Ravindra. To those who know him, 37-year-old Bijay Kumar Maharana is a blonde, dance-obsessed, aspiring actor in Hyderabad. On January 6, Delhi Police arrested Maharana, who has been accused of murdering and then burying his 26-year-old nephew, Jai Prakash Maharana, beneath the flowerbed of his rented Dwarka house in 2016.
The incident came to light only in October 2018, when labourers working in the balcony of the third-floor house in Dabri’s Chanakya Place-I discovered the skeletal remains.
The three-month-long search spanned Delhi, Noida, Sonipat, Panipat, Vishakhapatnam, and finally Hyderabad, from where police nabbed Maharana.
“Searching for the accused was a big challenge, as his whereabouts were not known to his family, friends or colleagues. He had switched off his phones, stopped operating bank accounts after withdrawing money, shifted cities, and was not in touch with anyone,” said Additional DCP Rajendra Singh Sagar.
The accused was sent to judicial custody on Thursday, and police have registered an FIR under IPC sections 302 (murder) and 201 (causing the disappearance of evidence).
The investigation revealed that Maharana allegedly killed his nephew on February 7, 2016, as he suspected Jai of having an affair with his girlfriend. “Jai was asleep when the accused smashed his head with the motor of a ceiling fan. He dragged the body to the balcony and buried it under the soil, which he had arranged for earlier. He then planted saplings to avoid suspicion,” said Sagar.
On February 12, police said Maharana filed a missing persons complaint at Dabri police station. He vacated the house two months later.
With the probe hitting a dead-end initially, a team led by Inspector Raj Kumar found a former colleague who gave them a useful tip. “He told us that Maharana’s closest friend lived in Vishakhapatnam, so we went there for six days. The friend said that until two months ago, Maharana was in Hyderabad. The team then left for Hyderabad, where his girlfriend also lives, and got hold of her number as well as Maharana’s. The location of his phone was traced and he was arrested,” said a senior police officer.
Police said the accused moved to Delhi in 2012, after finishing BCA from his hometown in Odisha’s Ganjam. He worked at a Noida BPO as a senior associate. In Hyderabad, he was employed as a senior HR manager at an engineering firm. “He auditioned for many movies in Hyderabad Film City, and cleared some too… he was hoping to make it in the film business,” the officer said.
His nephew moved to Delhi from Hyderabad in 2015 and was working at a private firm in Gurgaon.
His parents and sister live in Hyderabad, but were not in touch with Maharana.
“The accused was insecure about the friendship between his girlfriend and nephew. When we spoke to his girlfriend, she said she had no idea about the incident… During questioning, Maharana told us he was overwhelmed with guilt and cried a lot,” the officer said.