RLD candidate held for murder of brother, friend

Manoj Gautam, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate from Khurja in Bulandshahr, was on Wednesday arrested for the murder of his brother and friend, the police said. They have also arrested a sharpshooter identified as Firoz, a native of Maamankhurd in Bulandshahr, in connection with the murders.

Desperation to become an MLA motivated him to hatch a plan to eliminate his brother and friend, said Bulandshahr district superintendent of police (rural) Jagdish Sharma. He added that Manoj hoped to gain public sympathy and frame his opponents in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. When asked about the involvement of any other leaders, the police said they are probing the case from all angles.

The police have recovered one pistol and the mobile phones of the deceased. The licensed pistol used in the crime was recovered from Manoj Gautam while the mobile phones were recovered from Firoz. The police said call recording and surveillance played a crucial role in working out the case within 24 hours.

The Hindu had earlier reported that the victims — Vinod Gautam and his friend Sachin Gautam — were first found missing after a rally held by RLD chief Ajit Singh’s son Jayant Chaudhary at the Polytechnic College in Khurja on February 6.

Car found

On Tuesday morning, their bodies were found near Agwal area in Bulandshahr and RLD party members identified them. Nearly 200 metres from their bodies, their Mahindra Scorpio car was found abandoned.

Incidentally, around 10:15 p.m on February 6, Manoj himself informed the police that his brother Vinod Gautam and friend Sachin were missing since 6:30 p.m that day.

“Acting on the information, the police team had started a search operation. The next day, their bodies were recovered from Agwal village in Khurja area. An FIR was lodged based on the complaint of Vinod’s cousin Gurudeep against Parvinder and Firoz, who are associates of Manoj” said the Bulandshahr SP.

Following the incident, Manoj had admitted himself in a hospital. “Manoj had made calls from the phone of one of his associates. The police recovered the mobile phones and found some call recordings of conversations between the candidate and the other accused, which helped crack the case within 24 hours. The surveillance also played a crucial role,” Mr Sharma added.

When questioned, Manoj Gautam told the police that he had lost crores of rupees trying to get a poll ticket from BSP but failed. He then got a candidacy offer from RLD. “He then hatched the plan to eliminate his close relative. He discussed the plan to eliminate Vinod with Parvinder. They roped in Firoz to kill him five or six days before the polls to gain sympathy votes,” the police said.

“After RLD’s rally, Manoj handed over his pistol to Parvinder and Firoz and asked them to go to Agwal flyover. He also called Vinod and asked him to go to the flyover, where the murders took place,” the police added.

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Printable version | Jun 10, 2021 8:16:36 PM |

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