A year after a woman’s decapitated body was found in a Meerut field, police arrested six people in connection with the murder.
According to police, the 19-year-old woman hailed from Punjab’s Ludhiana and had accompanied one Saqib, in his late 20s, to Meerut where they lived together in rented accommodation. He allegedly eyed her gold jewellery she had brought with her to further his business and conspired with his family and associates to plot the murder.
The other accused have been identified as Mussarat, Mustakeem, Reshma, Ismat and Ayaan. Police said Saqib tried to escape when he was taken to the murder spot on Monday. He was injured after police fired at him. He is receiving treatment in a government hospital.
“We found the woman’s body stripped of her head and hand in a field in Meerut’s Daurala on June 13. Since there were no immediate signs of identification, we enquired into missing person’s reports in the state and National Crime Bureau but to no avail. We intensified our search and traced some men in the area who had travelled to Punjab.
Through this lead, we circled in on the woman’s identity which led us to Saqib and his associates. The accused will be taken on remand and further questioning will take place,” SSP Meerut Ajay Sahni said in a press conference on Monday.
According to police, Saqib used to perform witch-craft in Ludhiana — a reason why the woman approached him and later became acquainted with him. He introduced himself as Aman in a bid to hide his identity, police said. The two became close through social media and the woman came with Saqib to Meerut on the pretext of a job and better life, they said.
Saqib soon began planning to start a business and was looking for financial support. The woman had brought with her 150 gm of gold and some cash which were eyed by him. However, Saqib was wary that his pretense of a false identity would soon be unravelled, police said.
A day after Eid in June 2019, Saqib and his alleged co-conspirators laced her cold drink with sedatives, which rendered her unconscious. Her head was severed along with her left hand, while her right arm was mutilated. The hand was cut off since it had his name tattooed. “A spot in Daurala was chosen and she was buried with salt sprinkled over it to decompose it faster. The following day, a dog sniffed out a part of the body which led to its discovery,” said police.
The scope of the investigation spread to Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. “We used Internet Protocol Detail Record and other surveillance techniques for clues. We found that there were some mobile phone numbers active in the area and were switched off immediately after the incident. The numbers were traced to Punjab which led us to the victim and accused,” said Ajay Sahni.
The accused allegedly operated the victim’s mobile phone and kept changing her Whatsapp display picture to make it appear that the she was alive. The family, after not being in contact for months with their daughter, filed a missing person’s complaint which matched with Meerut police’s description.
During Monday’s press conference, a minor scuffle broke out between the victim’s and accused’s family.
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