A video retrieved from the mobile phone of a friend has led police to believe that the death of a 17-year-old here a week ago was the result of a wrestling match. The friends who were present at the match allegedly hid this from the family, telling them Nabeel Mohammed died in a motorcycle accident.
Six of them are now in custody while the friend who was allegedly involved in the bout with Nabeel is on the run.
The video retrieved from the phone shows Nabeel’s friend Owais Mohammed Patel punching him and delivering what look like heavy blows on his head, chest, abdomen and kidneys, soon after the bout began, early morning on May 3. Owais appears to have not stopped even when Nabeel went limp for a few seconds before collapsing on the road. He is believed to have died instantly.
Police will exhume Nabeel’s body on Monday for a second autopsy and are likely to convert the case from suspicious death to murder.
A student of Falaknuma Presidency College, Nabeel was good in studies and loved maths, computer science and wrestling.
According to police, while Owais ran away, the other six friends of Nabeel present called up his mother, indicated there had been a motorcycle accident, and took Nabeel to hospital where he was declared dead. Instead of waiting for his family at the hospital then, they took Nabeel’s body home and allegedly told his mother to stay away from police as Nabeel did not have a driving licence and was involved in an accident.
The suspicion that something was amiss arose when Nabeel’s father Dastagir Mohammed came from Saudi Arabia, where he works as a driver, and after his son’s burial, started questioning his friends about the incident. Their allegedly evasive replies and the discrepancies in their accounts made him suspicious and he lodged a complaint with Mir Chowk Police Station on May 7, seeking an investigation.
Apart from Owais, he named Nabeel’s friends Omar Baig, Abu Bakar, Shabaz alias Dollar, Salman, Sultan, and Irfan Pathan, saying they were hiding information from him.
“We registered a case and started investigating. The youths had destroyed the memory cards in their mobile phones, on which they had taken videos of the fight. Some of them also changed the handsets. However, we got one video which shows what happened,” said investigating officer Sub-Inspector M Seetharamulu.
As per a statement given by one of the youths, say police, they all gathered in a lane near Indo-American School for a wrestling match at 6 am on May 3. “The fight was between Nabeel and Owais and the friends waged bets and took sides. They also gave advice to both of them on how to fight to win. There are many things that raise suspicion, like the timing of the match. In the video, one person is seen whispering in Owais’s ear just before the bout started. What did he tell him? Was it only for betting or were Nabeel and Owais involved in a feud and this was organised to settle it? We are investigating all this,” Seetharamulu said.
Dastagir Mohammed said he hoped his only son would become an engineer or do MBA. “Most of the members in our family are illiterate or semi-literate. Nabeel’s two elder sisters are married while one is unmarried. I was hoping Nabeel would become an engineer, get a decent job and help the family. Instead, I buried him. He was a good son, obedient and a good student,” the father said.
He added that he didn’t know Nabeel and his friends were into betting or wrestling. “His mother had cautioned him a couple of times not to hang out with these friends who caused his death, because she felt they were not good people,’’ Datagir said, lamenting that the friends whom Nabeel considered close had lied and misled them.
“Until I lodged the police complaint, they were at my home, comforting and consoling us, and helping for the funeral. All this time, the boys who were responsible for my son’s death stayed closest to the family,” he lashed out.
Demanding that the friends be jailed, Nabeel’s father said, “I don’t care if they had a wrestling match and my son died because of it. I want to see the youths who are responsible for this behind bars so that other boys learn not to get involved in such things.”
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