Since 2011, eight inspectors have been given the task of investigating case number 32/11, registered at the police station outside New Delhi Railway Station, based on a complaint by Delhi Police constable Pilot Meena. Despite eight different probe officers, though, the high-profile case — on the murder of Neetu Solanki — saw little movement.
As the accused, her live-in partner Raju Gehlot, remained absconding, the file kept being shifted from one Crime Branch unit to another. Till date, however, no chargesheet has been filed before a Delhi court.
On February 11, 2011, Meena was stationed in a QRT van when he received a message on the wireless set about a body being found inside an unclaimed bag outside the railway station.
Solanki’s body was stuffed inside, and her neck and hands were tied using a plastic rope.
An FIR was registered and the Crime Branch was asked to look into the matter by the then Delhi Police Commissioner B K Gupta.
“Her identification was done on February 23 when her parents approached police on the basis of a peacock feather tattoo on her abdomen. By then, her last rites had already been performed. Police zeroed in on her boyfriend using technical surveillance. But by the time they reached the rented accommodation where the two lived together, he had left. Police then discovered neither had given their real identities to the flat owner,” a senior officer said.
Police then issued a lookout circular for Gehlot. Meanwhile, questioning his relative Naveen Shokeen revealed that Gehlot had confided in him about the murder. Shokeen is learnt to have told police that Gehlot meant to take a train to dump the body outside Delhi, but got scared on seeing a baggage scanner at the station. So he dumped the body on the road outside.
“He then boarded a train for Agra. An auto-rickshaw driver who saw him drop the bag was police’s main witness. Gehlot then came back to Shokeen’s office in Nizamuddin, where he stayed a night. He later took Rs 15,000 from him and told him about what had happened,” the officer said.
Gehlot told Shokeen he had met Solanki at a party in Gurgaon and they started dating. “She worked at a call centre and started living with Gehlot, but told her parents she had got a job offer in Singapore,” an officer said.
According to police, trouble started when the two faced a financial crisis. “Solanki suggested Gehlot ask his family for a share of the property, and also raised the matter with Gehlot’s sister. This did not go down well with him,” the officer said. This, police said, was the trigger for the murder.
After the murder, Gehlot bought over 15 phones and travelled to Mumbai and Goa. He also couriered a SIM card to his younger brother to talk to him, but police managed to track it. Before they could get to him, though, he changed his location.
In 2011, Shokeen was arrested on charges of harbouring Gehlot. In 2014, an investigating officer moved an application before a Delhi court, declaring Gehlot a proclaimed offender. He carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head.
“Two years ago, the then JCP (Crime Branch) Alok Kumar took an interest in the case and asked a team from the Eastern range to look into the matter. They began their investigation after scanning social media profiles of Gehlot’s relatives, but did not get any breakthrough — and case number 32/11 was transferred to another unit,” an officer said.