LD candidate Manoj Kumar Gautam was on Wednesday arrested for allegedly planning his brother’s murder “for gaining sympathy votes”. Electronic surveillance, a pistol recovered from Manoj’s residence and the statements of RLD workers pointed to his alleged involvement in the murder of Vinod Kumar Gautam and his friend Sachin in Bulandshahr’s Khurja area on Tuesday, said police. “One of the accused, Firoz, was arrested on Thursday. He said the murder was planned by Manoj. We also looked at electronic surveillance to corroborate his statements and others at the RLD office in Khurja,’’ said Bulandshahr (Rural) SP Jagdish Sharma.
“Gautam was under financial duress. He thought that the death of a family member will evoke sympathy from voters and the people he had taken money from will not bother him. He has told us about it. Around five days ago, he planned the murder of his brother. The murder of Sachin was not part of the plan,” he added.
Vinod and Sachin had left to see some people on February 6. “Around 9.45 pm, Gautam’s cousin, Gurdeep, informed the police that Vinod and Sachin were missing. They had left in a Scorpio car. At 6.30 pm, Vinod had received a call from Manoj, who asked him to meet him at Agwal Chowk. A few party workers had overheard him speaking to his brother,” said Sharma.
Police said Vinod had himself driven the car, while Sachin accompanied him. While the Scorpio was recovered at 10 pm on Monday at Agwal Chowk, bullet ridden bodies of Vinod and Sachin were found in a field around a kilometer away next day.
Manoj’s .32 bore pistol was allegedly used for the murder. “Gautam’s pistol used to be with Pushpinder, who went missing on Monday night and is an accused in the case. That evening, Pushpinder had called Firoz from a party worker’s phone and told him that he had spoken to Manoj and that he should destroy all SIM cards and not worry. A few hours later, Pushpinder went missing,” said Khurja police SHO Dhanjay Mishra. Manoj, who was at the spot when the two bodies were recovered, had fainted and was rushed to a hospital.