Delhi

When obsession turns a police officer into a criminal

In the Patparganj murder case, accused met SI on matrimonial site, families agree to match, but what went wrong? Sociology prof. blames case on patriarchal mindset

As a computer engineer, 28-year-old Priti Ahlawat from Rohtak had ample opportunities for a lucrative job. But her love for the uniform drew her towards joining the Delhi Police as a Sub-Inspector.

Coming from a family with a long tradition of serving in the Central Armed Police Forces, her fascination for the uniform was not misplaced either. However, little did anyone knew that her path will be crossed with an “obsessive” colleague who would take her life.

The murder and suicide

On February 7, Priti was shot twice in the head point-blank by her colleague, an SI, outside Rohini East metro station. She had come across the accused through a matrimonial site barely a year before the incident. A few hours after the incident, the accused from Sonipat was found dead inside his car on February 8 early morning.

The man had shot himself with his service revolver.

“Though batchmates, having joined the Delhi Police in March 2018, the two never met during the training period. It was in April last year that the man approached Priti after seeing her profile on the site and expressed his interest in a match. She spoke with her parents about his proposal, and though both belonged to the Jat community, there still was a little hurdle regarding gotras,” said Priti uncle Kalyan Ahlawat, a Gururgam-based advocate, who quit Air Force after a brief stint more than a decade ago.

Due to the things in common between the duo — the same workplace, came from families with good social standings and engineering backgrounds — , Priti’s family agreed to the proposal and was even ready to overlook the “social hurdle”. The families gave their consent for the two to meet and know each other. Meanwhile, Priti’s family met the accused’s father in September last and decided to take it forward.

‘A control freak’

However, Priti began to face issues with the accused’s behaviour and told her parents that he was “too possessive” and a “control-freak”.

“Involved in the investigation of grim crime cases such as rape, Priti, who posted at Patparganj police station, would often get late at work and usually some male officers would accompany her to her rented accommodation in Rohini. But the accused seemed to have an issue with this and would often tell her that they both would quit their jobs after marriage. But Priti was happy with her job and told us that he had ego issues,” said Mr. Ahlawat.

Gradually, Priti began to avoid him, who according to his colleagues would often remain absent from his work at Bhajanpur police station to visit her at Patparganj. Meanwhile, the woman’s parents told the police officer’s family in November that they were not interested in the match.

However, the officer called up Priti’s elder brother Anand, a software engineer in New Zealand, on a few occasions to apologise for his behaviour and asking him to clear the misunderstandings.

But Priti had made up her mind and blocked him from all social media sites. As per the investigation officer in the case, the two spoke over the phone on January 3 for the last time.

When he continued to stalk her, Priti’s family met his father, ex-SI in Haryana Police, on January 15 at his residence in Shastri Nagar regarding the matter. They told his father to tell his son not to harass Priti. Mr. Ahlawat said it was their last contact with his family before the tragedy.

A national Taekwondo player and an ace dancer, Priti, M. Tech in Computer Science from Rohtak’s Baba Mastnath University, had appeared at Service Selection Board for Armed Forces and also selected as Sub-Inspector in Central Reserve Police Force before she joined the Delhi Police.

“Both her father and grandfather had served in the BSF. She too had fascination for the stars on the uniform. Though happy with her present job, she would sometimes talk about taking Union Public Service Commission exam as well, but not interested in a corporate job,” says Mr. Ahlawat. Her school friends described as her “ambitious” and “friendly”.

The accused, a mechanical engineer, had quit five government jobs to settle for Sub-Inspector in Delhi Police. But he was expecting an appointment letter from the Income Tax Department as Tax Assistant in the next few months and mulling to leave his present job. His batchmates remembered him as a “loner” who would not socialise much. He had stress-related issues as well during the training and had to be counselled thrice.

Former MDU Sociology professor Jitender Prasad blamed the incident and similar such cases on the upbringing of the children in North Indian society, especially Haryana, with a patriarchal mindset where the woman is not allowed to have a free will and the man’s ego was too fragile to take no from her.

“With the women stepping out of their houses to work, they want to exercise their newfound economic freedom and live life on their own terms, but the men still want to control them and hold them back. It often leads to friction and hurts the male’s ego leading to crimes,” said Mr. Prasad.

Suicide prevention helpline: Sanjivini, Society for Mental Health, Telephone: 011-4076 9002, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. -7.30 p.m.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 11:15:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/when-obsession-turns-a-police-officer-into-a-criminal/article30832292.ece

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