A 24-year-old man strangled his girlfriend, stuffed her body inside a refrigerator of his dhaba (eatery) in southwest Delhi, and went off to marry another woman the same day, police said on Tuesday (February 14).
Accused Sahil Gehlot, a resident of Mitraon village in southwest Delhi, has been arrested, they said.
The incident came to light on Valentine’s Day and it was at the instance of the accused that four days after the murder, the body of the 23-year-old woman was recovered on Tuesday morning from the refrigerator at the eatery, which was locked since the day of the incident.
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Police said the accused had hidden the fact from his girlfriend Nikki Yadav that his marriage was fixed with another woman. When Nikki came to know about the same, she had a heated argument with the accused which led to her murder, they said.
“It has been claimed that she was threatening to implicate the man in a case if he married another woman,” a source said.
The couple was in a relationship for the past few years and Nikki wanted to marry the accused, police said.
The incident took place on the intervening night of February 9 and 10 when the victim confronted the accused about his marriage, a senior police officer said, adding that he killed her using the data cable of his mobile phone in his car and then hid body in a refrigerator at his dhaba.
Narrating the sequence of events, the officer said she was unhappy with the fact that he was getting married. On February 9 when he got engaged, she called him up and told him to come to her flat in Uttam Nagar.
“The accused went to the victim’s place in his car and picked her from there. She kept pressuring him to not get married. She had already planned to go with him to Goa and had booked tickets for February 9. She asked him to accompany her to Goa but he refused. This led to an argument and in anger, he killed her inside his car,” the officer said.
The accused then took the body in his vehicle to the dhaba which had not been operational for a long time. After stuffing the body inside the fridge, he locked the dhaba, the officer added.
The body was found intact inside the refrigerator and started decomposing at a slow pace, police said, adding that only strangulation marks were found on it.
Police suspect that the accused committed the crime near Kashmere Gate but the location of murder is yet to be verified.
Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Singh Yadav said that on February 10, a secret input was received that a person named Sahil Gehlot killed his girlfriend and married another girl on the day of murder.
On checking, no case or missing person complaint was found to be reported, Yadav said.
As the mobile phone of the accused was found to be switched off, a police team reached Mitraon village, but he was not present in his house after which an intensive search was made in the village and nearby area, the special commissioner of police said, adding the accused was later arrested from Kair village in Delhi.
“During interrogation, the accused initially tried to mislead police, but later he disclosed that he killed his girlfriend on the intervening night of February 9 and 10 and kept her body in a refrigerator at his dhaba,” the officer said.
Revealing about his association with Nikki, the officer said that the accused told investigators that he was preparing for SSC exams at a coaching centre in Uttam Nagar in January, 2018. At that time, the victim, resident of Jhajjar in Haryana, was also preparing for medical entrance examination from an institute in Uttam Nagar.
“Both of them used to travel to their respective institutes daily in the same bus and became friends and later on fell in love,” he said.
In February 2018, the accused took admission in DPharma at a college in Greater Noida and his girlfriend also took admission in the same college in BA (English Hons.). Thereafter, the couple started living together at Greater Noida in a rented house. They also travelled to several places such as Manali, Rishikesh, Haridwar and Dehradoon, he said.
“During Covid-induced lockdown, they returned to their homes. But later they again started living together in a rented house in Dwarka area. The accused did not inform his family members about this relationship with the victim. His family was pressuring him to get married with some other woman and finally in December 2022, his engagement and marriage were fixed with another woman for February 9 and 10, 2023 respectively,” the special commissioner of police said.
The postmortem of the body will be conducted on Wednesday at a hospital in Jaffarpur Kalan, police said.
A case under IPC sections 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of an offence committed, or giving false information to screen offender) has been registered at Baba Haridas Nagar police station and the investigation was conducted by the Crime Branch, police said.
The statements of the accused are being verified, they said, adding it is not clear where he wanted to dispose of her body.
Police are also looking for CCTV footage of the incident to ascertain the exact location of murder.
(With agency inputs)