Caught in KJ Singh’s car: Accused was driving scribe’s stolen car with changed number plate, nabbed by PCR staff.
Slapping an unemployed youth for sitting in a park next to his house cost senior journalist KJ Singh his life, claimed the Mohali police on Thursday.
Police on Thursday arrested 27-year-old Gaurav Kumar, who hails from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh and was staying at Kajheri village in neighbouring Chandigarh, for the brutal murder of KJ Singh, 64, and his bed-ridden mother Gurcharan Kaur, 92, on the night of September 22.
What led to his undoing was KJ’s car that he had taken away after the double murder.
It was around 12:15pm on Thursday that the police control room (PCR) vehicle number 26 on patrol on the YPS-Sohana road saw the green Ford Ikon with a suspicious number: PB-64A-6474. The original number of the car was PB-65A-0164.
When constables Parminder Singh and Ranjit signalled the car to stop, the driver sped away. The patrol staff then informed assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Ajay Pathak, who managed to intercept the accused near the Sohana gurdwara on the Airport Road.
“On checking the car, cops recovered a Press Club sticker along with a service slip in the name of KJ Singh,” said deputy superintendent of police (DSP, city 1) Alam Vijay Singh.
Police also recovered the kitchen knife used to commit the crime besides two mobile phones belonging to KJ Singh, three of his ATM cards, a DVD player, an Airtel TV set top box and his watch from Gaurav.
“We have already written to the UP Police to verify Gaurav’s records,” said Mataur station house officer (SHO) Jarnail Singh. “We will produce him in court on Friday to seek his remand.”
The SHO said the accused was staying with a live-in partner at house number 498 in Kajheri. He had also gone to Georgia in Europe on work permit but returned after nothing materialised. At present, he was jobless, he said.
What transpired on day of murder
“On the day of murder (September 22), Gaurav was sitting in the park since morning, which made KJ sceptical,” said Mohali senior superintendent of police (SSP) Kuldeep Singh Chahal while briefing mediapersons. “In the afternoon, KJ questioned him over his presence. The two entered into an argument, during which KJ slapped Gaurav a couple of times.”
A person walking in the park also asked Gaurav not to get into arguments with elderly people, he said.
Looking for vengeance, the accused went to his rented accommodation and returned on foot with a knife, following which he sat in the park planning his next move, said Chahal.
“As per his statement, the double murder was committed between 10:30pm and 10:45 pm,” said Chahal.
After ringing the door bell of KJ’s house, Gaurav allegedly hid behind a wall. Just as KJ opened the door to take a glance, Gaurav stuck his foot in the door and struck at KJ with the knife, rupturing his liver.
Police said footprints found at the door matched with that of Gaurav’s.
“The first strike was very vicious,” superintendent of police (detective) Harbir Singh Atwal told HT. “As KJ tried to defend himself, the two fell in different directions. However, given his agility, Gaurav got up and slit KJ’s throat.”
On hearing the commotion, KJ’s mother started screaming, said Atwal, adding that Gaurav went to her room and strangulated her to death.
“After touching any object in the house, Gaurav would wipe it with a cloth to remove his fingerprints. He also washed his hands in the washroom attached to the room of KJ’s mother. He also opened the cupboards,” said Atwal.
Gaurav stayed at KJ’s house for an hour and 15 minutes after the murder. Fearing somebody will see his blood-stained shirt, he took away KJ’s car.
At 12am, on his way to Kajheri, Gaurav crossed the Phase 3B2/5 light point and the PCL light point.
“He parked the car in the common parking in Kajheri and changed its registration plate after two days,” said Atwal. Police suspect Gaurav was planning another crime soon.
Sources said the accused’s mobile phone was switched off, making it impossible for the police to trace his location as there was no information of his phone being active during the dump data collection.