Policeman posing as mango seller nabs fugitive in 2004 Delhi murder case

Update: 2024-05-21 19:10 GMT

NEW DELHI: A 41-year-old man, who was allegedly involved in the abduction and murder of a Delhi-based cereal trader 20 years ago on the day of Karwa Chauth, was arrested by the Delhi Police from Uttar Pradesh, an officer on Tuesday.

According to police, the accused, originally Sipahi Lal, had since changed his name, and when he was caught, he was running a chhole-bhature cart in UP’s Mainpuri.

Besides the two decades’ wait, an elaborate stakeout, which involved a policeman impersonating a mango seller, went into the arrest of Sipahi Lal, who allegedly tortured and stabbed a Delhi trader at the behest of his employer.

“The incident dates back to October 31, 2004. It was Karwa Chauth. The main accused along with four of his associates abducted cereal trader Ramesh Gupta for ransom.

The accused, however, could not make a call for the ransom and killed him after spraying paint on his face multiple times and stabbing him repeatedly,” DCP (Crime Branch) Rakesh Paweriya said.

His brother Jagdish Kumar lodged a complaint of abduction at Shalimar Bagh Police Station and named Mukesh Vats, a local fruits and vegetables trader, as someone who could be behind Gupta’s disappearance.

On November 2, 2004, police recovered Ramesh Gupta’s car in Bahadurgarh, but he was still missing.

Shortly after, Mukesh Vats was arrested and confessed to the crime, revealing that he and his associates—Sipahi Lal, Shareef Khan, Kamlesh, and Rajesh—had abducted Gupta for ransom.

Vats, a vegetable trader at Azadpur Mandi, lured Gupta to a room in Karala Village on Karwa Chauth. There, they tortured him by spraying paint on his face and stabbing him multiple times.

They then packed his body in a gunny bag and dumped it in a drain. Vats, Khan, and Kamlesh were arrested and later sentenced to life imprisonment, while Lal and Rajesh remained fugitives.

Lal was eventually tracked down in Mainpuri, where he was disguised as a chhole-bhature vendor named Gurdayal. ASI Sonu Nain, posing as a mango seller, conducted a stakeout and captured Lal.                          

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