The Indian National Congress’s Haryana spokesperson, Vikas Chaudhary, was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Faridabad Thursday morning, with police suspecting the accused followed him from his home to a gym in Sector 9 and opened fire at him when he parked. Faridabad police said Chaudhary had 13 cases registered against him, and it is suspected that the murder was the fallout of his “criminal background”. The FIR has been registered against unknown persons based on a complaint by his brother.
The incident took place at 9.05 am when he reached Equilibrium Gym, located on the second floor of a building in HUDA market. “He was alone in his Fortuner car. As soon as he parked, turned off the engine, and was getting out of the vehicle, three people shot at him and fled,” said Sube Singh, PRO of Faridabad Police.
CCTV footage shows another white car stopping nearby as soon as Chaudhary pulls into the lot. A person in the passenger seat opens his door and, after waiting for five seconds, runs towards Chaudhary’s car, followed by an accomplice. A third person can also be seen opening the door before closing it as the car turns the bend and stops at a blind spot.
While one man can be seen firing through the Fortuner’s windshield, it is suspected that the others, who were blocked from view, shot him from the driver’s side – as indicated by the shattered window of his door and bullet holes on the exterior of the vehicle. The incident took place in under a minute.
A security guard stationed at the gate that serves as the entrance to the gym witnessed the crime. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said, “I was making entries in the notebook when I saw some men going to a car with a gun. I became nervous and immediately rushed into the building to alert people inside. By the time we came back out, those men had left.”
Naveen Singh, who goes to the same gym, was inside at the time and was the one who rushed Chaudhary to the hospital along with his relatives. “I was on the second floor when I heard gunshots. We looked through the window and saw what was happening. By the time the staff and I reached downstairs, they had left. We tried to shift Vikas’s body and take him to the hospital, but the car refused to start. Meanwhile, his brother, who we had called, arrived at the spot in his car, and we rushed him to Sarvodaya hospital in his vehicle,” said Singh.
Chaudhary, however, succumbed to injuries and was pronounced dead on arrival. His post-mortem was conducted by a board of doctors on Thursday afternoon. PRO Singh said five teams are probing the matter. “CCTV footage shows an SX4 car in which four men were following Vikas. One was driving, while the others went and fired 8-10 shots before fleeing. The fact that the accused were following him indicates this crime was a result of personal enmity,” he said. Additional DGP (Law and Order) Navdeep Singh Virk tweeted: “As per the leads so far, Vikas Chaudhary had a criminal background and 13 FIRs of extortion, kidnapping, attempt to murder, etc were registered against him since 2007 in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. His murder appears to be connected to his own criminal background.”
“Several police teams have been deployed to crack the case and Faridabad police is confident of detecting it soon. CP Faridabad is personally supervising the investigation,” he tweeted.
According to Faridabad Police records, of the 13 cases registered against Chaudhary, eight accused him of voluntarily causing hurt, three of extortion, one under the IT Act, and one of the attempt to murder.
While 12 are in Faridabad, the attempt to murder one was registered in UP in 2007.
Police said that Chaudhary has been acquitted in seven of the 13 cases, while five are either being investigated or are under trial.
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