Three men who murdered a cab driver in 2018 after completing their trip and stole his car and phone were sentenced to life imprisonment until death by a Gurugram court on Thursday.
The three, identified as Gagandeep Singh, 32, Vishnu, 34, and Balkar, 31, the latter two known only by their first names, were held guilty based on the chain of events and their confessional statements that led to the recovery of the stolen items belonging to the deceased man.
They were convicted on Wednesday under sections 302 (murder), 346 (wrongful confinement in secret), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. The court of additional sessions judge Mona Singh also fined them ₹45,000 each.
The case dates to July 9, 2018, when the three convicts stopped Bintu Garg, 30, while he was on way home in Badshahpur, Gurugram. The three asked him to take them to Sirsa in Haryana after promising to pay him ₹8,000.
That day was also Garg’s last contact with his family in Badshahpur when he told them he would return home soon, according to the facts mentioned in the court order.
After arriving in Sirsa, instead of paying Garg, the convicts stabbed him to death inside his car at a secluded place between Sirsa and the Bathinda border and dumped his body in the Bhakra canal in Bathinda, Punjab.
Garg’s cousin, Prem Kumar, submitted a missing complaint at Badshahpur police station on July 13. At the same time, local residents spotted a body floating in the Bhakra canal and recorded a video of it. The body could not be recovered due to the high water pressure in the canal, according to the court order.
Meanwhile, eight people were arrested on July 19 in Bathinda’s Sidhana by the Punjab Police for planning to commit dacoity. Two cars — a Maruti Ritz and Swift, sharp-edged weapons, country-made pistols, and cartridges were recovered from the suspects. According to the court order, a first information report was registered against the suspects at Phool police station.
The suspects also included the three convicts who had murdered Garg. During interrogation, the three confessed that they had brought a cab driver from Gurugram to the Haryana-Punjab border and stolen his phone and car after murdering him, said police officers.
Punjab police discovered that the Maruti Ritz car was Garg’s stolen cab, which originally had a Haryana registration number but had been replaced with a fake Punjab one.
The Punjab police alerted the Gurugram police, which sent a team to Sirsa. With the help of the Punjab police, the Gurugram police recovered Garg’s slippers, phone, blood-stained towel used to cover the car’s seats, Aadhaar card and other documents from different places in Sirsa and Bhatinda based on the statements of the convicts.
The Gurugram police arrested them and attempted to recover Garg’s body. However, the body had already been washed away and was never recovered. The video of the body recorded by locals showed it was wearing a grey shirt and pants similar to what Garg was wearing on July 9, because of which the court established that Garg was murdered, said public prosecutor Anurag Hooda, who appeared for the state in the case.
“Aside from this, footage from CCTV cameras at the three toll plazas on the route from Gurugram to Sirsa showed the convict, Gagandeep Singh, in a cab with Garg. Forensic experts found remains of human blood on two sharp-edged weapons seized from the convicts and towel,” he said.
At least a dozen Punjab police officers and Bhakra canal employees deposed in the case before the Gurugram court, along with forensic experts and officials of two telecom firms who said that Garg’s mobile phone location was in Sirsa along with the convicts who were accompanying him.