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Monday, October 19, 2020

The Sunday Story: ‘He always got what he wanted’

By 2003, Yadav had four cases against his name, including that of molestation and one under the Arms Act.

Written by Shalini Narayan , Sarah Hafeez | New Delhi | Updated: January 1, 2015 11:55:43 am
Shiv Kumar Yadav. Shiv Kumar Yadav.

At 14, he was the boy with the first bike in his village. By 20, he had a string of cases against him, including of molestation.  At 32, he is the man who allegedly raped a 27-year-old woman in a taxi in Delhi.

As 82-year-old Devendra Yadav recalls, it was some 18 years ago that the village of Ramnagar in Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh first heard the rumble of a motorbike. Until then, the village had only seen bicycles, so heads turned when the boy riding the two-wheeled wonder zipped through the village alleys. He was all of 14. Back then, Shiv Kumar Yadav was the boy with the first bike in the village. Eighteen years later, he is the man who allegedly raped a 27-year-old woman in his car in Delhi on December 5.

Yadav’s friends say that as a boy, he would walk 3 km to the main road everyday after school to watch the occasional car that passed that way.

While other children chased after cars, Yadav would simply stand back and watch. His friend Manoj Tripathi says that one day, Yadav flagged down a tractor and asked the driver if he could ride some distance in it. The driver agreed and the two boys hopped on. “He wouldn’t stop smiling that day. We rode a few kilometres and then got off. Since that day, vehicles became somewhat of an obsession with him. Almost every day, he would tell me how he wished he owned one himself,” says Manoj, 33, Yadav’s classmate at the private Surekha kindergarten school in Mainpuri.

uber1 In 2004, Yadav married his elder brother Kumarpal’s widow Munni.

When Yadav got his first bike, Manoj says, he was left dumbfounded. “I didn’t think he would get a bike. We couldn’t think of asking our parents to buy us even a cycle and he had a bike,” says Manoj who works as a driver in Agra.

It was at Vishwanath Singh junior high school (now an inter-college) that Yadav studied till his Class VIII. He was ‘Roll no 825’, according to the school register of that year. It shows he enrolled in the school in Class VI on January 1, 1993, and continued till Class VIII, after which he sought a transfer to a school in Mathura.

“He was not an exceptional student but he never missed school. I don’t quite remember whether he was good in studies, but he would talk at length about vehicles, how they run, the technology… I used to wonder where he picked up all that from,” says Mahavir Singh, the headmaster of the primary school.

uber2 Yadav’s father Ramnath retired as headmaster of a primary school.

Ramnagar is barely 3 km in circumference, ringed by wheat and mustard fields. Much before it came to be known as Shiv Kumar Yadav’s village, it was notorious for its illicit liquor units. Records at the Ellau police station, under whose jurisdiction Ramnagar falls, show 70 per cent of the cases in the village are of drunken brawls. “Not a day goes by when a brawl isn’t reported. Even we are scared to go to Ramnagar after 5 pm. The men roam about drunk, armed with firearms and swords,” says a policeman at Ellau.

Around noon on a Wednesday, Ramnagar doesn’t look anything like what the policeman made it out to be. Houses with thatched roofs almost run into each other, except for a lone house at one end of the village. It’s Yadav’s house, the one with five buffaloes and a concrete roof.

Life was never much of a struggle for Yadav, at least not when he was growing up. Of the seven children born to Ganga Devi and Ramnath Yadav, a retired headmaster of a primary school in the village, Yadav was the youngest and the one who always had his way. While his eldest brother Rakesh died of an illness, the second, Kumarpal, reportedly committed suicide just after his first child was born. The third brother, Lankush, is mentally unstable. Yadav’s three sisters are married — the eldest lives in Mathura and the other two in Etawah.

“He always got what he wanted. If he wanted money, my parents wouldn’t even ask him why he needed it,” says Yadav’s sister based in Mathura who didn’t want to be named.

“He threatened to leave at any talk of helping in fields,” says mother Ganga Devi. “He threatened to leave at any talk of helping in fields,” says mother Ganga Devi.

Shorter than most of his friends at 5’4’’, Yadav had the nickname “gantha”, meaning “midget” in the local Kanauji dialect. “He had a complex because he was short. He thought the girls avoided him. He didn’t like it that we talked to the girls while he couldn’t,” says Raju Yadav, another friend of Yadav’s.

Apparently then Yadav decided that the only way to impress the girls was to own a vehicle. “When he got the bike, he thought women would be attracted to him. But nothing changed. Later, women became an obsession. Angry that he wasn’t getting any attention, he would randomly hold a woman’s hand or snatch her dupatta. He became a nuisance, and though we told him to stop, he listened to no one,” says Raju.

Sitting on a charpoy, Ganga Devi is trying to get her grandson to sleep. “Shiv was mischievous as a boy. He had a habit of getting into arguments with people and would come home bruised everyday. He would threaten to walk out of the house if we as much as suggested that he help us till the fields. He always dreamt of leaving the village and moving to the city.”

By the time he was in his late teens, Yadav would be involved in almost every brawl that broke out in the village. His first crime, in 2001, was an attempted break-in. He was trying to scale the wall of a house in the village when people caught him, beat him up and handed him over to the police. Yadav was 19 then. Soon, more cases followed. Sometime in 2002, he spent a night in jail for a case of gambling and was released with a warning.

“He began hanging out with boys from neighbouring villages. Since he had a bike, the boys took advantage of him and made him do their work. He was finally getting some attention and he enjoyed it,” says Raju.

Yadav, in turn, lavished attention on the girls of the village. “I was once returning home from the local market when I saw him standing with a group of boys from the neighbouring village,” says one of Yadav’s ‘victims’.  “They were all laughing and passing comments. I tried walking past them, but Shiv Kumar caught hold of my hand. I screamed. Some villagers intervened and sorted things out. But he simply sniggered and left, promising to return.” The girl says her parents dissuaded her from filing a case, telling her that since they all belonged to the same village, things could get unpleasant if she did.

By 2003, Yadav had four cases against his name, including that of molestation and one under the Arms Act.

His palms clasped behind him, Yadav’s father Ramnath stands supervising the labourers in his field. “I gave him everything I could. After he finished his Class VIII, we sent him to Mathura to be with his sister. But he returned after his Class X and refused to study further. But here, he was back to his old ways. I didn’t know what to do with him,” he says.

In 2004, Yadav married his elder brother Kumarpal’s widow Munni, with whom he has two daughters. After their marriage, the two moved to Mathura to be with his sister. “From his children’s school fees to his household supplies, our father paid for everything. Even the vegetables and spices came from our field back home. He never had to spend on anything,” says Yadav’s sister, who is married to a junior engineer in the water department in Mathura.

While in Mathura, Yadav drove around in his brother-in-law’s Maruti 800. He soon started working as a security guard. But every evening, after he got home from work, he would practise driving the car.

It’s in 2006 that he first came to Delhi. He moved in with his wife and three children into a rented accommodation in the city — “we changed some four to five houses”, says Munni — and till 2009, worked as a security guard with two private companies. A year later, he landed his dream job, as a driver with a private radio taxi service. It was while working for this taxi service that he moved into ‘C-II/89 Raju Park, 1st Floor, Devli Road, Delhi 62’. When he had to register the car he bought a couple of years after he moved out of this house, this is the “permanent address” Yadav mentioned on the documents he submitted to the transport department.

Raju Park in South Delhi is narrow and congested. It’s here, in a one-room flat on the first floor that Yadav lived with his family for six months. The owner of the house, Akhilesh Yadav, lives a few houses down the lane. “I rented the flat out to Shiv Kumar in August 2011. He moved in with his wife, two daughters and a son. They had shifted from another house in the same locality. However, he left abruptly in early December that year, leaving behind his family,” says Akhilesh.

Akhilesh’s wife Suman says that when they asked Munni where he had gone, she made up a story. “Munni said her husband had met with an accident and was away at a relative’s house. She also said his car had got damaged in the accident,” says Suman.

Two weeks later, says Suman, neighbours informed them that the police had come looking for Yadav. It’s then that they found out that Yadav had been on the run after a bar dancer filed a complaint against him alleging he had raped her in his cab on December 13.

“We were shocked. When we confronted Munni, she said her husband had been framed. We let her stay on but she was unable to pay the rent and she moved out in February 2012,” says Suman.

In May 2012, Yadav was sent to jail for the alleged rape. After seven months in jail, on November 26, 2012, he was acquitted for lack of evidence. He then went back to his village Ramnagar and lived there for a couple of months.

Soon, he began pestering his parents for money to buy a car. “He told me he had identified a Swift Dzire car and that he would drive his own car. I told him we didn’t have that kind of money. But he was insistent and said that if we didn’t buy him the car, he would kill himself. What was I to do? I gave him some money and jewellery. He sold it and financed the vehicle,” says Ramnath.

In 2013, he came to Delhi again but this time, his family stayed in Mathura. The Delhi Police say he moved in with his nephew into a house in South Delhi’s Mehrauli. This is where he was living when he allegedly raped the 27-year-old financial consultant on December 5 this year.

But it wasn’t to the Mehrauli address that the police went looking for Yadav after the alleged rape. His documents mentioned the Devli address and they landed up at Akhilesh’s home.

Akhilesh’s wife Suman says, “The police came to our house just after Shiv Kumar had raped the woman. My husband said he had Shiv Kumar’s number and the police told him to dial the number. Shiv Kumar answered, saying he was hiding in Mathura. He didn’t mention the rape, but said that he had got himself into a mess by intervening in a fight between a man and a woman.” And then, Yadav switched off his phone — till the police traced him to Mathura.

Case diaries

2001: Attempted break-in. Caught trying to scale a wall, beaten up and handed over to police.
2003: Charged with attempt to rape and criminal assault at Ellau police station in Ramnagar. Arrested, but released on bail.
2006: Case under Arms Act for carrying a knife, arrested.
2008: DM orders Yadav to be externed from Mainpuri district for a year.
2009: Case under UP Goonda Act, externed again.
2011: Rape and robbery case at Mehrauli in Delhi. Arrested, acquitted after seven months.
2013: Allegedly rapes a woman from Nangla Tar village in Mainpuri and robs her.

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