Absconding since 2011 for allegedly killing his live-in partner Neetu Solanki and dumping her body outside New Delhi Railway Station, the accused, Raju Gehlot, died in a private hospital in Gurgaon — with police having failed to track him since the murder that had made headlines.
According to police, the accused had been working with an automobiles company for the last seven years after changing his identity. He was hospitalised with a liver ailment recently.
Gehlot and Solanki lived together at a rented accommodation in Hari Nagar, and he had allegedly killed her after a heated argument. A proclaimed offender, he carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head.
“A team of the inter-state cell of Crime Branch recently received information from Gehlot’s relatives that he had been admitted to a hospital and had called his family. A team went to the hospital Wednesday afternoon and came to know that he had died earlier in the day,” a senior officer said, adding that police will now submit his death certificate in court.
On checking hospital records, police found he got himself admitted with abdomen pain on June 21, and was diagnosed with liver infection, police said, adding that he died of organ failure.
Solanki’s body had been found stuffed in a travelling bag near the New Delhi Railway Station on February 11, 2011, and she had remained unidentified until February 23. Police had only one clue — a peacock tattoo on her abdomen. Her father met police after he identified her from photographs. She used to work in the hospitality sector of a private airline.
Gehlot’s involvement in killing Solanki was revealed after the arrest of his relative Naveen Shokeen, who was aware of the incident. Gehlot was then chargesheeted.
During investigation, police found that after killing her, he went to Goa, but in 2012, he came back and started staying in Gurgaon. He was initially in touch with his parents and used 15 different SIM cards and phones. “He later joined a private company after changing his identity to one Rohan Dahiya and started working as a reporting officer. He stayed in a paying guesthouse,” an officer said, adding that his colleagues told police he was “low key” in office and would come early but often leave late.
Gehlot, whose uncle is a retired ACP, did his graduation from College of Vocational Studies in Delhi University. He also did a Masters in Tourism from the same college and later opted for a diploma in French from an institute in South Delhi. He joined Indian Airlines as a crew member in 2006 and was given an official accommodation in Air India Colony, Vasant Vihar. When he stopped reporting for work, airline officials locked the house.
According to police, on February 11, the day Solanki’s body was found, Gehlot made several calls to his cousin, Shokeen. Gehlot allegedly confessed to the murder to Shokeen, and asked for his car to dispose of the body, police said. Shokeen told police he refused and later called a radio taxi service, but was told that no cabs were available. Solanki then boarded an autorickshaw and went to the railway station. An autorickshaw driver who saw him drop the bag was police’s main witness.