A final-year law student, who was found buried in his former landlord’s basement, was first strangled to death, the post-mortem report has shown. The victim, Pankaj Singh (27), was allegedly choked with a rope and then buried, about three-four days before his body was found by police Monday. Police said they have also recovered the rope allegedly used in the crime from the house of the landlord, Munna Yadav, the prime accused who is yet to be arrested.
“Our priority is to trace and arrest the accused and a surveillance team is currently tracking his cellular activity. We have detained his relatives and are questioning them to ascertain a motive. As per the FIR, Pankaj’s family has alleged that Munna wanted to take over his cyber cafe business, which is currently the basis of our investigation,” said Maneesh Mishra, SP (City) Ghaziabad.
A missing persons complaint had been registered by Pankaj’s family at Sahibabad police station Saturday, after his disappearance on October 8. “We started investigating the area where he was last spotted. We found that his previous landlord and his family had left home the day after the complaint was filed, which seemed suspicious. We scanned the house and found fresh plaster in the basement. We dug it up and found Singh’s body,” said Mishra. Munna lived in the same building with his wife and four children, but left for Bihar after Pankaj’s disappearance.
Police said the accused allegedly made every effort to ensure the body is not discovered by a neighbour. An officer said he allegedly sprayed perfume or deodorant to make sure there wasn’t any odour.
After accessing his call detail records, police have found that Pankaj was in touch with Munna’s children. Police said he gave tuition to them and they helped look after his cafe when he would attend college.
Pankaj, a fourth-year law student at IME Ghaziabad, stayed as a tenant at Munna’s residence for 15 days, before shifting to another accommodation in Girdhar Enclave.