Four passengers who allegedly murdered a taxi driver in Bilaspur last week had started using the victim’s vehicle as a taxi before they were arrested, said the police.
The accused, who had boarded a taxi from Shimla to Chintpurni and then killed the driver en route to rob him of his vehicle, were arrested from Panipat around eight hours after the crime.
By then, they had already picked up a passenger from a taxi stand in Ambala and were headed to Delhi when they were intercepted by the police.
The four accused, all young men aged 18 to 25, had originally planned to use the robbed vehicle to carry out a theft in Chintpurni, where they were going to attend a religious function, Bilaspur SP Devakar Sharma said.
“The prime accused, Sahil, was living in Matiana since March as his father works as a truck driver there. The three other accused came to Shimla recently and all of them planned the crime to not only rob a taxi but use it to commit a theft in Chintpurni,” he said.
On September 14, the four of them hired a Maruti Suzuki Alto at a taxi stand in Shimla to take them to Chintpurni. At around midnight, when they reached near Kandrour in Bilaspur, Sahil stabbed the driver, Harish Kumar, with a knife in an attempt to kill him.
An injured Kumar, however, managed to flee and run away from the vehicle, signalling a truck passing by to stop. He became unconscious as soon as he climbed the truck and was rushed to a hospital.
SP Sharma said that Kumar gave a partial statement to the police in the hospital, including the vehicle number, before succumbing to his injuries. A car bearing that number was eventually intercepted near Samalkha in Panipat the next morning.
The police initially detained five people, but later learnt that one of them was a passenger. Instead of reaching Chintpurni, the accused fled the state after the murder and went to Ambala, where they parked at a taxi stand to look for passengers.
Devender Singh, the truck driver who helped the victim, was awarded cash and a certificate by the police, while the name of Constable Ajay, one of the investigating officials, was recommended for a commendation certificate.
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