Delhi Police Friday issued an alert for a taxi that had gone missing after it was hired by three unidentified people from Pathankot six days ago. The taxi driver, Vijay Kumar, was found dead at Kotla bridge in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district Wednesday.
The Himachal Police, who have ruled out any terror angle in the murder, are trying to trace the missing taxi (white Alto HPO1 D 2440).
DGP Sanjay Kumar, who was in Dharamshala, said, “So far our investigations have not shown any terror link. Efforts are under way to trace the culprits and recover the vehicle.” Dharamshala is 98 km from Pathankot.
The Delhi Police alert is seen as a step to upgrade vigil for the missing car in the wake of the recent attack at the Pathankot airbase and ahead of Republic Day celebrations.
Asked about the threat perception, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi urged people in the city to be alert, but did not disclose details citing security concerns.
The family of Kumar, a resident of Gaggal village in Kangra district, had lodged a police report the day after he went missing. However, there was no breakthrough until his body was found on January 20.
Kangra SP Abhishek Dular told The Indian Express that Kumar’s death was caused by strangulation.
“I have set up a special team to investigate the case. Parties have been sent to nearby villages to trace the culprits. We have some clues and CCTV footage of Gaggal Chowk, where the vehicles was hired.”
The CCTV footage will be released on TV channels and social media for identification of the accused, he added.
“There could be a drug angle as the deceased had two cases of trafficking at Chamba against him. He was later acquitted for lack of evidence,” the SP said.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said there would be no let-up in security at borders adjoining Pathankot.
“I have asked the DGP to trace the culprits and recover the vehicle. I am told there could be some drug trafficking activity in Himachal cops rule out terror link in taxi driver’s murderthe case. But we will conduct a thorough probe and provide justice to the family.”
Kumar has left behind his mother, wife and two daughters, one four years old and the other one year. His mother said according to some shopkeepers, the taxi was hired by three persons carrying backpacks, who appeared to speak Punjabi. “I want the vehicle to be traced so that it does not fall into the wrong hands. The culprits should be arrested,” she said.
Kumar’s uncle Vipin confirmed that there were two cases of drug trafficking against him but said he was discharged by the court two months ago. “He was booked because a passenger was carrying a consignment in the taxi,” he added.
— Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) January 22, 2016