Palwal (Haryana): A retired Army captain, believed to be mentally ill, Tuesday allegedly bludgeoned six people to death with a rod in a killing spree here that lasted about two hours.
The accused, identified as Naresh Dhankhad, 45, went on the rampage between 2 to 4 am in a two-km stretch between Agra Chowk and Camp Colony.
He killed his first victim in the second floor of a private hospital, before hitting the streets to kill five others and injure one.
A resident of Macchgar near Ballabhgarh, Dhankhad, also attacked the policemen when they tried to nab him.
He had joined the Army in 1999 as a lieutenant and taken retirement on medical grounds in 2003. He then joined the Haryana agriculture department as an assistant development officer in 2006, a police spokesperson said.
He was working as a sub-divisional officer with the health department.
His first victim was a woman named Anjum who was an attendant of a person admitted in the ICU of the hospital. She was sleeping on the second floor where the accused managed to gain entry, Palwal superintendent of police Sulochana Gajraj said.
The incident was recorded on a CCTV camera and the accused can be purportedly seen coming inside the doors wearing trousers and a sweater and carrying the rod.
He then went to Agra Road intersection where he killed three more people. Then a little farther, he killed two others by repeatedly hitting them on the head.
She said checkpoints were set up in the town, which is 80 km from Delhi. "When we zeroed-in on him, he was searching for another target and almost had his seventh victim as he had injured him," she said.
He was arrested around 7 am when he was roaming around near a private hospital in Palwal, the SP said, adding that thick fog in the town had reduced visibility making it easy for the accused to target the victims.
He tried to resist arrest and even assaulted the policemen before being overpowered, the police said.
The SP said that Dhankhad appeared to be mentally ill.
"He appeared to be mentally ill and looked highly aggressive. Preliminary investigations have revealed that he had strained relations with his wife and two children," she said.
She said the accused, who has been booked on murder charge, was referred to the civil hospital at Faridabad. His psychological evaluation would be carried out.
Deputy superintendent of police Abhimanyu Lohan said prima facie it seemed that he carried out the killings without a reason.
A high alert was sounded in the city, the police spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said Dhankhad got married 10 years ago and separated from his wife four years later. Dhankad was the youngest of five brothers.
His brother, Chandrapal, claimed that Dhankhad was mentally ill and was being treated by a doctor in Muradnagar.
He claimed that his brother had completed MSc from Haryana Agriculture University in Hisar where he was one of toppers.
The neighbors of the former army officer told reporters that he did not like to interact much and preferred to be alone.