The death of an auto-rickshaw driver, Syed Mazher Ali, reported five years ago at Santoshnagar, had taken curious turns before the Commissioner’s Task Force (North) sleuths recently detected that it was a murder.

Questions remain as to how the Santoshnagar Police surmised that it was an accident, even as the two persons arrested by CTF officials admitted to have murdered Ali.

Police had registered a case of suspicious death under Section 174 of the CPC after Ali’s body was found lying in the passenger seat of his three-wheeler, which was parked at Rakshapuram on December 22, 2008. Eventually, the section of law was altered to 304-A (rash and negligent act, resulting in death) of the IPC. The vehicle’s torn tarpaulin and damaged steel rod drove investigators to believe that Ali had met with an accident.

Though there were bruises on the face and chest of the victim, they concluded that it was an accident, as the forensic doctor, who performed the autopsy, had stated that death from such injuries could not be ruled out. While the case remained undetected for five years, Mohammed Siddiq Ullah Khan, 32, and S. Prem Kumar, 35, who were apprehended by CTF sleuths on a tip-off, told interrogators that they had murdered Ali.

“Ali allegedly made sexual advances towards Kumar’s wife. Despite warnings from Kumar, he continued to do so, compelling Kumar to hatch a plan with Khan to eliminate Ali,” TF Inspector A.P. Anand Kumar said.

The duo lured the driver to Kumar’s house offering a liquor party and beat him to death after he got drunk, according to him. “Since the victim’s family members didn’t raise any suspicion, the angle of homicide was not pursued then,” the Santoshnagar police claimed.

But, how did they surmise that it was a road accident when the victim’s body was lying inside the vehicle?

“Had the investigators confirmed when and where the victim was last seen, they would have learnt that the victim had gone to Kumar’s house. From there, the murder plot could have been detected,” felt a retired police officer.

Normally, investigators rely on analysis of the call data record (CDR) of suspects and victims to crack mysteries. Verification of the victim’s CDR would have given the lead.

For some inexplicable reasons, this regular practice, too, was ignored in the case.

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