AN AYURVEDA doctor, who is suspected by police to have been the mastermind behind at least 50 murders of taxi drivers in the early 2000s, and whose associates used to dump bodies in a canal infested with crocodiles to get rid of evidence, was arrested in Delhi Wednesday — six months after he jumped parole while serving a life sentence at the Central Jail in Jaipur.
According to Delhi Police, Dr Devendra Sharma (62) was arrested from his residence in Delhi’s Baprola. He was also behind an illegal kidney transplant racket in the 1990s with a network spread across Jaipur, Ballabhgarh and Gurgaon, police said.
“After jumping parole in Jaipur, he went back to his native village, then moved to Delhi, where he married a widow, and started living with her in Baprola. He started a property business, and even mediated for the sale of a building in Connaught Place to a person in Jaipur. This, too, was a cheating scam,” DCP (Crime Branch) Rakesh Paweriya said.
The DCP said it was while gathering information of “wanted criminals in the area” that a Delhi Police Inspector got information that Sharma was living in Baprola. “We received information about him a week ago. A team had been deployed to search him then,” said police.
Police said he was calm and didn’t try to run. His interrogation started on Tuesday afternoon and lasted till the early hours of Wednesday. When asked about media reports from back in the day about him having been involved in 100 murders, he is learnt to have told police: “I lost count after 50… it might have been 100. It is not easy to remember.”
“He was arrested for several murder cases in 2002-04 and was convicted in 6-7 cases. He was released on parole for 20 days after staying in Jaipur’s Central Jail for 16 years,” said the DCP.
He said he came to Delhi because he wanted to start a new life and live peacefully.
Sharma was handed life term for the abduction and murder of a cab driver in Gurgaon in 2002.
Malini Agarwal, Additional DG (Rajasthan Jails), told The Indian Express: “He was granted parole on January 28 and was supposed to come back on February 16 but he went to Aligarh and didn’t return. Parole was granted by the district collector after a lot of verification, and Sharma was released on the basis of his conduct in the jail. He has been arrested in Delhi and is in Tihar Jail.”
According to a police officer in Delhi, Sharma obtained his BAMS degree in Bihar where he began running his own clinic in 1984. In 1994, he suffered a financial setback of Rs 11 lakh when he invested in a gas dealership scheme after he got scammed.
“A year later, his foray into the world of crime began when he started running a fake gas agency. Around the same time, he also began the illegal kidney transplant racket. During interrogation, he disclosed that from 1994-2004, he got more than 125 kidney transplants done illegally for which he was paid Rs 5-7 lakh each,” the officer said.
The doctor ran his clinic on and off till 2003, when he got in touch with men who used to hire taxis, and kill the drivers at a secluded place.
“They used to dump the bodies on the way to Aligarh in Hazara canal, Kasganj, which had crocodiles, and hence there was no chance of retrieval. Sharma used to sell the taxis in Kasganj or dismantle them in Meerut and make about Rs 25,000 per vehicle,” said an officer.
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