Nowgam police crack murder of man

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 6/10/2018 10:22:05 AM

Wife and paramour arrested

SRINAGAR, June 9: An intensive and painstaking investigation has led the Nowgam police to crack the murder of one Abiroo Shafi Bhat from Khwajapora, Nowgam, by his wife and her paramour, a firebrand cleric, on the night of March 10, said a police spokesman.
Giving details in a statement, he said Abiroo’s wife, Asifa, daughter of Muhammad Abdullah Dar of Aloochi Bagh, had on the morning of March 11 called her brother-in-law, who lives next door and told him, something happened to her husband as he is not waking up. She had also informed her parents and father-in-law who lives nearby on phone.
The deceased, his wife and their seven-year-old daughter lived separately in a one-storeyed house. On the fateful night, the child was with her maternal grandparents at Aloochi Bagh.
The family buried Abiroo in the belief that he had died of natural causes. Many ascribed it to heart attack, though he had no history of heart ailment or any major disease. No doctor was called nor was the deceased taken to hospital. But those who performed the ablution and the family members who were present at the time later said the body had gone very stiff and unusually cold. They had noticed some marks on the neck. Still, they did not suspect any foul play.
However, family members and those who came to commiserate with the family began asking questions. The wife, Asifa daughter of Mohammad Abdullah Dar of Aloochi Bagh, was asked how come the Whatsapp and Facebook applications were missing from the phone of the deceased even though he had sent Whatsapp message to a friend a few hours before his death? One of her uncles asked her, “you did not feel for a second that you were sleeping next to a dead body the entire night?” According to the father of the deceased, the uncle’s query had the wife fuming and she had asked her mother to “ask him not to come here again”.
There were other red flags that made the family members increasingly suspicious of the wife. She was not as distraught as a wife who just lost her husband of 12 years is expected to be. They were not only married for 12 years but had been in a relationship for several years before marriage also. They had gotten married despite objections by their families. Effectively, they had been together for more than half of their lives. Both were in their mid-thirties. Before being arrested by the police, while the family was mourning, the wife had sold a gold bangle that was her husband’s gift. A day or two after her husband’s death, she had been using her phones a lot, which the mourning women in the family felt was unbecoming of a new widow.
The family’s suspicion grew further when the co-accused in the murder, Moulvi Tanveer Bhat (Lelhari) son of Ali Muhammad Bhat of Lelhar, Pulwama, visited the family on the third day of Abiroo’s death and delivered a moving sermon to the mourners. According to the family, the Moulvi then went to the women’s tent to condole the widow and her mother. The family said he sat near both of them, although the deceased had forbidden him from coming to his home.
As the family’s suspicion grew, they had called the woman’s father, brother and uncles and talked about her behavior. They also told them about certain events in the past that pointed to her extra-marital indiscretions. Her family members were especially asked to inquire from her about the excessive phone use and other markers that raised suspicion. She had denied. The family of the deceased also paid her Rs 5 lakh as the one-eighth of the inheritance of her husband.
On May 14, Mohammad Shafi Bhat, the father of the deceased filed a complaint with the police station Nowgam, saying he suspected foul play in the death of his son. On the basis of this complaint, police station Nowgam started inquest proceedings under section 174 of CrPC. During proceedings, the family requested deputy commissioner Srinagar for exhumation of the body. On May 26, 2018, a team of forensic experts from the forensic department of the Government Medical College Srinagar and doctors from health department exhumed the body and conducted the autopsy. The report said the prima facie cause of death is strangulation. The final report is awaited. The police then registered a case (FIR 52/2018 under 302 RPC) and started investigation that was led by SHO Showkat Ahmad.
The police called Moulvi Tanveer for questioning. At first, he denied everything and the call records on the SIM he was using did not yield much. Neither did the phone the wife had been using yield anything significant. However, a few days before his murder, the deceased had given a certain phone number to his cousin and asked him to find its details. The cousin shared the same number with the police, who traced it to one Suhail of Lelhar, Pulwama, a cousin of the said Moulvi. The moulvi had given this SIM to the wife of the deceased and the police traced call locations to Aloochibagh and Nowgam, the wife’s maternal and marital addresses. In the meanwhile, the Moulvi had gone into hiding and the duo changed their SIM cards. This time the Moulvi got her a SIM card in the name of one Rouf Sadiq of Nowgam. Finally, when he was arrested, he confessed to the crime. The police recovered a broken cellphone the wife had thrown out the window of the house of her brother-in-law, where the family had been mourning. Another broken phone was recovered near her parents’ house in Aloochi Bagh. These were the phones she had been using to communicate with her paramour. One more mobile phone was recovered from the possession of the Moulvi.
During the investigation it came to the fore that Asifa wife of deceased was caught red handed by her husband while talking to Moulvi on phone a day before he gave the number to one of his cousins for ferreting out its details. The wife had in anger gone to her parents’ home. She then called moulvi and the duo made the plan to kill Abiroo. As per the plan, the wife kept her minor daughter at maternal home. The murder plan was executed between 12 and 12.30 AM on the night of March 10. The wife gave a glass of milk laced with sedatives to the deceased. In the meanwhile, the Moulvi jumped the wall of the house and entered a room whose window had been left open by the wife. When Abiroo was in deep slumber and too sedated to resist, the Moulvi strangulated him with the assistance of his lover. The Moulvi stayed in the house till early morning before jumping the wall. He took train to home in Pulwama from Nowgam railway station. During confession, the two accused said they were planning to marry and had been in relationship for more than a year. The Moulvi, who was very popular in the locality and attracted packed audiences, used to deliver Friday sermons in the nearby mosque and the deceased had invited him to lunch on several occasions. The deceased had probably got a whiff of the illicit relationship between the two and had informed the local head of Jamiat-e-Ahli Hadees Abdul Qayoom about Moulvi’s behavior. The Moulvi, who taught in a private school in Pampore, had been asked not to deliver sermons thereafter. During investigation, the police found that the moulvi had inquired from a few locals as to who is pursuing the case in the family. He had also confessed to the crime before a few of them. Subsequently, the wife also was arrested and she too confessed to the conspiracy and murder. The accused woman has been sent into judicial custody at Central Jail Srinagar, while the Moulvi is still under police custody at Police Station Nowgam.
The father of the deceased, Mohammad Shafi, other relatives and several locals visited the police station a few times and thanked SHO Showkat and his team for swift and persistent investigation into the crime, the police spokesman added.



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