New Delhi: A few construction labourers were busy knocking down the fencing of a flat's balcony in Delhi's Dwaraka area three months ago (October 8, 2018) as part of some renovation work when they found bones poking out of the flower bed in the third floor balcony.
Soon, they removed all the saplings planted on the balcony and cleared the soil only to be shocked by a human skeleton wrapped in a blue-coloured jacket, a bed sheet, a blanket, a shirt and a mattress. The labourers then did not realise that they were digging out the crucial evidence of a gruesome balcony murder committed almost three years ago over a love affair (February 6, 2016, night exactly).
Within moments the news spread in the neighbourhood and the owner of the flat, Vikram Singh, called the police to inform about the mysterious skeleton. Dwaraka cops collected details from the flat owner and noticed that three years ago one of the tenants living in the flat, Jai Prakash from Hyderabad, had gone missing. He was staying in the flat along with his uncle (mother's brother) Bijay Kumar Maharana from Odisha's Ganjam district. Maharana was working with an IT firm in Noida's Sector 144 while Jai Prakash was an employee of a Gurugram-based private company.
On checking details, the sleuths found that Maharana had filed a complaint with the Dwaraka police in February 2016 that his 26-year-old nephew Jai Prakash was missing after he went out with his friends on February 6 evening.
Suspicious over the role of Maharana, police began a search for him. The cops were shocked to find out that there was no trace of Maharana anywhere.
Two months after filing the 'missing' complaint, Maharana had shifted to another house at Nangloi in western fringes of Delhi. From there, he just vanished. By now, the police contacted the family members of Jai Prakash and Maharana and a DNA test and other evidences confirmed that the skeleton was of Jai Prakash.
The cops intensified the hunt for Maharana and they were still in the dark over the reason for uncle killing the nephew. Much to the cops' chagrin, Maharana had in the past three years changed several SIM cards and phones and before leaving Delhi he had withdrawn all the money in his account. He was not using his previous bank accounts at all. This was a major hurdle for the sleuths to track Maharana's digital footprints. There were no clues about his whereabouts and the cops were not sure whether this man was using a mobile phone at all. His friends and family members said he had no contacts with them. He did not even call Jai Prakash's family after he left Delhi.
According to a report in a national daily, Jai Prakash's mother Jyoshna Rani, a tailor by profession, had come to Delhi from Hyderabad, where she is married to Pradeep Kumar, a private firm employee, and searched for her missing son. She stayed for a week in the same flat where her son was killed. She told a national daily that her brother had told her that Jai Prakash had gone to Jammu and Kashmir for a vacation.
She did not trust her brother so she rushed to Delhi, where she along with her brother pasted posters of Jai Prakash at airport and railway station. According to Jyoshna, her brother's actions never gave her a clue about the gruesome murder he committed.
She said she never opened the door leading to the balcony as she always thought that her son was alive.
One of Maharana's family members said he had switched off all his mobile numbers, left his job in Delhi, stopped operating his bank accounts after withdrawing all money and shifted to an unknown place.
This increased the police's suspicion and they started interrogating his friends, colleagues and other persons. He used to work in a company in Noida where the cops managed to collect some documents. With the help of the Aadhaar card number and other digital surveillance, the cops got a clue that he was in Andhra Pradesh.
According to cops, they also received information from one of Maharana's close friends that he was into betting. The police team first went to Vishakhapatnam in December 2018 and later got information that Maharana is in Hyderabad. A police team reached Hyderabad in the first week of this month and nabbed Maharana on January 6. He was working as a human resources manager for an engineering company in Hyderabad.
During interrogation, Maharana revealed the plot behind the gruesome murder.
Maharana was having a relationship with a girl during his college days. After completing her BCA, she shifted to Delhi for higher studies in 2012. Maharana also followed her to Delhi and secured a job in Noida. They continued their relationship and she used to visit his flat at Dwaraka. In 2015, Maharana's nephew Jai Prakash completed his studies and reached Delhi looking for a job. He also got a job in a private firm in Gurugram and started living with his uncle. However, Maharana's girlfriend continued her visits to his flat, where she met Jai Prakash. Soon, Jai Prakash and Maharana's girlfriend became very close. According to Maharana, she was having another affair with his nephew, which infuriated him.
Thinking that his girlfriend and nephew are cheating him, he decided to eliminate the nephew. He started plotting for this in the beginning of 2016.
First he sought the permission of his landlord to plant saplings on the flat's balcony. He bought soil and saplings from a nearby nursery and kept it on the balcony. On February 6, 2016 night, when Jai Prakash was fast asleep, Maharana smashed his head with the motor of a ceiling fan, which was kept in the room for repair.
He dragged the body to the balcony and wrapped it in clothes. He dumped the soil bought from the nursery over the body and planted saplings over it. He washed the flat to wipe out all evidences of the murder. A few days later he filed a complaint with the Dwaraka police that Jai Prakash was missing after he went out with his friends.
The cops had visited the house then and investigated the case. However, nothing suspicious was found at that time. Family members of Jai Prakash also did not suspect anything about the uncle.
Maharana stayed in the same flat for two more months and later shifted to Nangloi in Delhi, then to Andhra Pradesh. The flat renovation work turned out to be the crucial factor in unravelling the murder mystery.
The police refused to reveal the details of Maharana's girlfriend and there is no clue whether she is still living with the murderer or not.
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