With the body of their 25-year-old daughter in the rear seat of the car, a couple drove 80-odd km from their East Delhi home to UP’s Sikandrabad on January 30 to dump the body in a canal, hours after they allegedly strangled her for “marrying in the same gotra”.
On Friday, Sheetal Chaudhary’s parents, Ravinder and Suman, two paternal uncles, Sanjay and Om Prakash, and two cousins, Ankit and Parvesh, were arrested by Delhi Police for allegedly kidnapping and murdering her, DCP (East) Jasmeet Singh said. “During questioning, the family said it was unacceptable to them that the woman had married someone with the same gotra,” said a police officer.
The matter first came to light on February 17 when a kidnapping case was registered at New Ashok Nagar police station based on a complaint by Chaudhary’s husband Ankit Bhati. A police officer said, “The two secretly got married in October but continued staying with their respective families. On January 30, Chaudhary told her parents and the rest of the family about the marriage, and they allegedly strangled her.”
Both Chaudhary and Bhati’s families have dairy businesses and are neighbours. It was three years ago that the two began dating, secretly.
After allegedly killing her, two cars with the six accused left for a village near Sikandrabad, where they hail from, and dumped Chaudhary’s body in a canal before returning to Delhi. “Her parents were in a Wagon-R with her body, which was kept upright in the rear seat, and the other car with the rest of the relatives followed,” said an officer.
In the complaint, Bhati wrote that he had not heard from his wife since January 30. “Bhati tried calling her, visited her house, relatives, and friends but in vain. His relatives also tried reaching out to her family,” said a police officer.
UP Police had found her body in the canal on January 30 and cremated her on February 2 after doing a post-mortem since they couldn’t identify her. “They kept aside her clothes and other belongings,” said an officer.
After a kidnapping complaint was filed, a Delhi Police team visited Chaudhary’s family, who said that she was visiting an uncle. “When we started questioning her family individually about her whereabouts, there were contradictory versions till one of them broke down. Another strong doubt emerged when Bhati’s relative had inquired about the woman, and her relative had said, ‘hogi toh milegi na ladki’,” said a police officer.
In Aligarh, Chaudhary’s clothes and other belongings helped police identify that it was indeed her, and call details and technical surveillance of the six accused also established their presence in the area on the day of the crime.
According to Aligarh Police, the body was allegedly dumped in Sikandrabad and was carried till Aligarh due to the flow. Due to the low water level, the body was spotted in an Aligarh village by villagers who informed police.
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