The body of the lawyer who went missing from Khurja town of Bulandhshar district on July 25 was recovered from a tiles godown in the town on Friday night, the police said. Three persons, including the owner of the ceramic tiles unit, have been arrested.
Dharmendra Chaudhary had gone missing from Gulshan Vihar Colony of Khurja. His motorcycle was found abandoned in Khabra village adjoining a jungle.
In what seems like a premeditated murder, the police said, Dharmendra was invited to the tiles godown for a party and was strangulated to death over a financial dispute. The body was then buried in a brick-lined, nine-foot-deep pit in the godown. The godown is situated behind a police post, and all this while the police were pressing drones and a dog squad in the sugarcane fields adjoining the Khabra village.
Bulandshahr Senior Superintendent of Police Santosh Kumar Singh said the investigation revealed that the owner of Mahalaxmi Timber and Tiles factory owed money to Dharmendra and when he could not return it, hatched a plan to kill his ‘friend’. “We have arrested Vicky Lala, the owner of the unit, and two of his aides.”
Mr. Singh said they found a diary belonging to Dharmendra in which there were details of money, approximately ₹70-₹80 lakh, lent to Vicky. “As the loan was not legitimate, family didn’t raise any doubts. There was no direct evidence against Vicky. CCTV footage indicated that Dharmendra entered his showroom at 8.30 p.m but didn’t come out,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu.
The police asked Vicky to take a lie detector test. He initially agreed, but later backed out citing health reasons. “This almost confirmed our doubt,” said Mr. Singh. When the team searched the godown, they sensed the stench of a rotting body. “The body was found buried in a pit,” Mr. Singh said, adding Vicky has admitted to his crime. “He said he used his gamchha (stole) to strangulate the deceased.”
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