Rape attempt, a murder, and refrigerated body parts: A horrific crime from East Delhi unravels

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As the country continues to reel from gruesome details emerging from the murder of Shraddha Walkar at the hands of Aftab Poonawala, the news of a similar murder has emerged from east Delhi on Monday, sending shockwaves throughout the country.

The Delhi Police Crime Branch arrested a woman and her son from Pandav Nagar for allegedly murdering her husband, Anjan Das, chopping his body into 10 pieces, and keeping them in a fridge before dumping them across the Capital.

The woman, identified as 48-year-old Poonam Devi, and her son Deepak, 25, have been arrested for the alleged murder and hiding evidence. The police are now investigating the crime, which shares eerily similar details to that of the Shraddha Walkar murder.

In police custody, Poonam has revealed that the murder was a result of Das’ drinking habits and also because he had allegedly tried to tried to molest and rape his step-daughter and daughter-in-law.

‘Ill-intentions towards my children’

The authorities investigating the case have stated that Das, 45, who worked as a lift operator temporarily was murdered at the hands of his wife and step-son Deepak on 30 May following which they chopped his body into multiple pieces, packed it in different packets and over the course of the next few days disposed of the pieces, one by one.

In early June, the Pandav Nagar police found a plastic bag with a human leg from Ramlila ground. Not far away another bag was recovered with a thigh.

Finally, on Sunday after months, the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch cracked the murder with the arrest of Deepak and Poonam. While Deepak is a part-time waiter, Poonam works in the nursing department of a hospital.

During investigations, Poonam told the authorities that the murder came after she learnt that Das had stolen her jewellery and money and then sent it to his first wife’s children in Bihar. She also told the cops that she hatched the plan to kill Das after her daughter-in-law and 22-year-old divorced daughter complained that Das had groped them and tried to rape them.

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“Das tried to molest and rape them. Poonam and Deepak got very frustrated and angry due to his lecherous habits. So, in April, she along with her son Deepak hatched the conspiracy to kill him,” Special CP, Crime, Ravindra Singh Yadav, was quoted as saying by The Print.

Confirming the police’s claims, Poonam said, “Anjan molested my children and that is why he was killeḍ. My son Deepak murdered him not me.”

Deepak’s wife recounted how Das would keep harassing her and kept trying to rape her. “He would get Deepak drunk and then in in lieu of dropping him home, he would grope me. He would wait for my husband to fall asleep and then try to disrobe me. He would hold me against the walls and cover my mouth. This went on for months,” she was quoted as telling The Print.

Deepak’s sister also alleged that Das kept harassing her. “He wouldn’t leave a chance to grope me. He would push himself on me. I told my mother and brother about it. It was torture.”

Murder most foul

Fed up of Das’ alcoholism and lecherous ways, Deepak and his wife had shifted out of their joint family residence in Trilokpuri.

Deepak’s wife and sister, speaking to The Print, said that the family tried to reason with Das but he wouldn’t listen which led to Deepak and Poonam hatching a conspiracy to kill him.

According to the police, the plan to murder Das was made in April and then on 30 May they put their plan into action.

The police state that the mother-son duo used sleeping pills to sedate Das, and once he fell unconscious, slit his neck. They then allegedly left the body in the house for an entire day so that the blood could be drained out. After this, they chopped the body in 10 pieces and discarded a few over the next couple of days.

Also read: Has Aftab Poonawala ‘inspired’ other killers? Copycat crimes explained

They cleaned the floor with phenyl, and whitewashed the house in Trilokpuri to wipe out evidence of the crime, the authorities added. The duo also used perfumes and room fresheners while they stored the body in the house.

Speaking at a press conference, DCP Goel said: “On 5 June, some body parts were recovered in Ramlila Maidan in the East district. Over the next three days, two legs, two thighs, a skull and a forearm were recovered, and a case was filed. Efforts were then made to identify the body. It seemed like a gruesome murder. Our team checked CCTVs again and again. Door-to-door verification was conducted but nothing was found. However, the team continued to look. During the exercise, the team found that the deceased could be a man named Anjan Das.”

“Further investigation revealed that Das had been missing for the last five-six months and there was no missing complaint filed by the family. This created suspicion in our minds and Poonam and son Deepak were picked up. They confessed to his murder upon questioning. We also found footage of them walking towards different areas after the incident,” said Goel.

A love story gone wrong

The cops probing the case have found that Poonam originally hailed from Jharkhand. At the age of 13, she was married off to a man and the next year had a daughter with him.

However, her first husband left her and went to Delhi. She came here looking for him, but was unable to locate him.

Soon, she met a man named Kallu and moved in with him after tying the knot with him. She gave birth to a son, including Deepak, and two more daughters. Kallu later died of liver failure.

Also read: From Delhi's Dexter-inspired killing to Tandoor murder: When love stories turned fatal

She then met Anjan Das and the two got married in 2017. She told the authorities that in the last three years, Das had stopped doing any work and dependent on her for living expenses.

If things weren’t bad enough, Poonam then found out last year that Das had been selling her jewellery and stealing the money she had saved and sending it to his first wife and their eight children back in Bihar.

Put all these pieces together and it’s a recipe for an almost perfect murder.

With inputs from agencies

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Rape attempt, a murder, and refrigerated body parts: A horrific crime from East Delhi unravels
Rape attempt, a murder, and refrigerated body parts: A horrific crime from East Delhi unravels
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