A day after the murder of a Delhi University student sent shockwaves across the capital, the police on Wednesday released a sketch of the assailant who shot 20-year-old Radhika Tanwar on a foot over-bridge near her college at Dhaula Kuan in South Delhi. They are on the lookout for a young man who stalked her two years ago.
The sketch was prepared on the basis of a description provided by three persons who were crossing the over-bridge when Ms. Tanwar, a second year graduation student of Ram Lal Anand College, was shot from behind at around 10 a.m.
The suspect, who wore a black T-shirt and a pair of jeans, is of wheatish complexion and is about five feet five inches tall.
Addressing a press conference, Deputy Commissioner (South Delhi) H.G.S. Dhaliwal said a large number of people took the foot over-bridge around the time of the murder.
“Several people might have witnessed the incident… but it is very unfortunate that no one has come forward. We have not come across any eyewitnesses so far. We are doing whatever we can to identify and arrest the killer. Help from the witnesses will expedite the process, and I appeal to them to share whatever valuable information they have. Their names will not be divulged and we will provide all necessary assistance,” Mr. Dhaliwal said.
He added that the victim's family members were cooperating but were still in shock.
Preliminary investigations have suggested that the assailant kept a watch on Ms. Tanwar's movements and knew where she boarded the bus and got off every day. She usually took a bus to her college from near the Naraina vegetable market and alighted close to the foot over-bridge near Satya Niketan.
The police suspect that the assailant followed Ms. Tanwar on Tuesday morning but could not execute his plan on the way. He shot her at the first opportunity from point-blank range with a country-made firearm, probably of .315 bore, when she was crossing the bridge.
“He chose the spot close to the other end of the bridge from where he could easily escape on foot,” Mr. Dhaliwal said.
The heavy rush of vehicles on the road drowned the sound of the gunshot. While many mistook it for a firecracker, some thought that Ms. Tanwar's mobile phone exploded.
‘Crucial time lost'
Mr. Dhaliwal said none of the bystanders took the initiative to rush the victim to hospital. A beat constable posted nearby, who reached the spot a few minutes later, took Ms. Tanwar to the Safdarjung Hospital along with another person in an autorickshaw.
“He had to stop the autorickshaw forcibly. Crucial time was lost,” Mr. Dhaliwal said. Ms. Tanwar was declared brought dead at the hospital.
Based on the initial findings, the police believe that there was only one assailant, that the murder was pre-planned, and that property crime was not the motive.