Two medical representatives held for the murder of two autorickshaw drivers in Junagadh had searched the internet to find out about cyanide poison as well as to delete CCTV footage recorded by a camera installed by one of the accused, to destroy evidence, police said.
Rafiq Ghoghari (40), a resident of Gulshan-A-Nawaz Society in Kharavad area of Junagadh, and his friend Bharat alias Jonh Pithadiya (50) died minutes after they consumed liquid from a soft-drink bottle kept in Ghoghari’s autorickshaw in Gandhi Chowk of Junagadh on November 28. A forensic analysis confirmed that the drink was laced with cyanide.
The Local Crime Branch of Junagadh then detained Ghoghari’s wife Memuda (38) and their neighbours Asif Chauhan and Imran Chauhan who were friends and medical representatives who were into sales of contraceptive products.
According to police, Asif, who is unmarried, and Mehmuda, a mother of three children, were in a relationship and wanted to get married. They found Rafiq an obstacle and hatched a conspiracy to get rid of him.
“Asif was looking for a poison that can cause death in a manner not easy to be established as a murder. While it is yet to be found where they procured the cyanide from, records of Asif’s phone shows he searched kaunsi tablet se heart attack aa sakta hain (which tablet can cause heart attack) and also about sodium cyanide,” a police officer told The Indian Express Sunday.
The trio was arrested by ‘B’ Division police in Junagadh where a case of murder has been registered. “FSL analysis has confirmed that the accused had spiked the drink stored in a bottle with label ‘Davat Jeera Masala’, which the two victims drank,” said Ravi Teja Vasamsetty, superintendent of police of Junagadh.
Investigators also said that the accused mixed cyanide they procured in “powder form” in the bottle kept in Rafiq’s autorickshaw. “Then, the duo got suspicious that a CCTV camera installed by Imran at the gate of his residence could have captured them mixing the poision. Therefore, Imran searched in his phone, ‘How to delete CCTV footage’ and subsequently deleted footage from the system,” the police officer added.
According to police, Pithadiya was a collateral damage in the murder conspiracy hatched to kill Rafiq.
The three accused were produced in a local court in Junagadh by officers of the ‘B’ Division police station. “We sought remand of the three accused for nine days. But the court granted us their custody for five days,” said NA Shah, police inspector of ‘B’ Division police station in Junagadh.
Police said that Mehmuda and the two other accused had made two attempts on Rafiq’s life earlier also. “Once, Mehmuda mixed poison in Rafiq’s glass of water but he survived as he spew out the water after taking a sip. In the second attempt, the accused mixed poison in Rafiq’s bottle of drinking water, which he never drank as he wasn’t thirsty. He emptied the bottle before filling it with fresh water later. Thus he survived on both occasions,” said the officer.