In what is being called a 'crime of passion', an Indian Army major, Nikhil Handa, was arrested in Meerut's Daurala on Friday in connection with the death of the wife of another Major, Shailja Dwivedi. Handa has been accused of murdering the woman, who was found dead with her throat slit near the Delhi Cantonment metro station at the Brar Square area in New Delhi.
'Relationship' between victim and murderer
According to Zee News, Handa knew Shailja since 2015 and in 2017, he and the victim's husband were posted together in Dimapur in Nagaland. Shailja came to Delhi two months ago and started residing in the army quarters in Naraina near the Cantonment with her husband, who was assigned to leave for a deputation to Sudan in a couple of weeks. Handa followed them to New Delhi on 2 June.
The two were alleged to be having an extramarital affair. "She had an extramarital affair with Major Handa. Both her husband and lover were posted in Nagaland's Dimapur city but two months ago, Major Dwivedi got transferred to Delhi," police said, according to an India Today report.
They talked continuously on the phone, though he was the one who called her more often, the police said. "Victim's husband had once caught the two on a video call. He informed us that he didn't want Handa to ever be seen around his wife or family," said an official.
The victim's brother, however, claimed otherwise: "When Handa tried to go beyond mere friendship, Shailja started ignoring him. Reports of my sister having an affair with him are completely false," as per The Indian Express.
How it all unfolded
It was said by the police that Shailja had gone to the army hospital for a physiotherapy session at 10 am. Major Handa, the police said, reached Delhi on Saturday and asked Shailja to meet him. During the drive, they had an argument.
"Major Handa had slit her throat inside the car and thrown the body near the metro station. To make the killing look an accident, he crushed her four times with his white Honda City and fled. He went to his house in Saket and tried to wash off the car. He was keeping a tab on the news channels and after the news broke about the recovery of the body, he switched off his cell phone and fled to Meerut," a senior official close to the investigation told Times of India.
NDTV reported that the woman was dropped outside the hospital by an office vehicle assigned to Major Driwedi. However, when the driver went to pick her up, he was told that the woman had not turned up for the checkup. The report further said that the woman was last seen taking a lift in another car outside the hospital.
Her body was found at 1 pm. Major Handa was reportedly the last person to be seen with Shailja inside the hospital. A passerby informed the police about the body lying near the metro station around 1 pm.
According to a News18 report, the woman's identity was ascertained after the army officer went to the police station around 4 pm to get a missing complaint lodged. The police revealed that the woman had left home to visit the army hospital for a physiotherapy session at around 10 am after which she went missing.
How police caught Handa
Investigators said they began to suspect Handa as there were a huge number of calls exchanged between them — the maximum of them made by the Major. The victim's husband, Major Dwivedi, had also alerted the police of his suspicion.
According to NDTV, Delhi Police arrested Handa from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and recovered a Honda City car in which he had allegedly committed the murder on Saturday. Handa told investigators that he had an altercation with Shailja in his car and had slashed her throat with a "Swiss army knife" before pushing her out on the road.
"Handa had fled to Meerut after the murder. Six teams were formed to track him down. He was caught after an extensive probe revealed his location," Upadhyay told Times of India. The police said that Handa had stayed overnight at the army mess in Meerut and had planned to dispose of the car at the local scrap market there.
The car contained evidence of the alleged murder, the police said. There were bloodstains and more than one knife was recovered. A Swiss army knife was also recovered with fingerprints all over it, the police said. He tried to clean the car with towels, but there was still blood, an officer said. "It looks like he slit her (throat) suddenly," an officer said.
The police have said that Major Handa had been out of touch with everyone, including his family. He had even got himself admitted to a hospital "because of migraines".
With inputs from agencies.
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Updated Date: Jun 25, 2018 16:46:11 IST