The prime accused in the murder of Congolese national Masonda Ketanda Olivier (23) was once arrested for running an international cheating and extortion racket with two Nigerian nationals, said sources.
The key accused, Mukesh Kumar (28), has managed to evade the police despite the arrest of two of his accomplices —Mobin Azad Saifi and Prakash —in the case. Sources said Kumar, who hails from Rajasthan, had joined hands with Nigerians, Friday and James, to dupe people by befriending them online. Delhi Police Crime Branch arrested Kumar, Friday and James in one such case earlier this year, the sources added.
The case in which Kumar and the Nigerians were held was registered in December 2015 by the Crime Branch on a woman’s complaint. According to the woman, a retired government official, a person who claimed to be US citizen Alexander Grage had befriended her on Facebook. One day she got a call from an unknown number and was told it was from the Mumbai Customs department. The caller told her Grage had been detained with a huge amount of cash and cheques and was repeatedly taking her name. According to her complaint, the caller told her if she wanted to avoid complications and keep her name out of the case, she had to pay Rs 14 lakh.
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The complainant claimed she was scared and deposited the money through cheque in an account number she was given. Soon, more calls demanding more money started coming in from separate numbers and she approached the Crime Branch.
Investigations led a Crime Branch team to Kumar, Friday and James, who were arrested within a week, said sources. They told the police during questioning they had been active for more than two years and cheated several persons in India. Kumar was operating as an agent of the international online cheating racket in the national capital, the sources added.
“Kumar and the Nigerians were sent to Tihar jail. They got bail after a while,” said a source from south district police now on Kumar’s trail for Olivier’s murder. Kumar and his accomplices allegedly beat Olivier to death in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area at about 11.45 pm on May 20. Olivier, who lived in South Extension and had started teaching French at a private institute, was minutes shy of his birthday.
While Olivier’s friend who was with him during the assault alleged it was a hate crime, claiming the accused used racial slurs, Delhi Police maintained he was murdered in a brawl over hiring an autorickshaw. Sources said Kumar had been held earlier in a molestation case as well.