Srinagar, Jun 09: Police on Saturday issued a statement regarding a mysterious murder case of the Nowgam property dealer whose body was exhumed last week. His wife had killed him along with a Molvi who was leading prayers in the local mosque.
A police spokesman said that an intensive and painstaking investigation by police team led by SHO Nowgam, Showket Ahmad Shah under the supervision of SDPO Panthachowk and SP City West has helped Nowgam police to crack the murder of one Abiroo Shafi Bhat of Khwajapora, Nowgam, by his wife and her paramour, a firebrand cleric (Moulvi), on the intervening night of March 10.
The victim’s wife, Asifa whose father lives in Aloochi Bagh, had on the morning of March 11 called her brother-in-law, who lives next door and told him, “your brother is not waking up from sleep.”
She had also rung up her parents and father-in-law who too lived nearby regarding the same, said the police spokesman.
The couple and their seven-year-old daughter lived separately and on the fateful night, the child was left with her maternal grandparents at Aloochi Bagh.
The family buried Abiroo Shafi believing that he had died of natural causes. Many ascribed it to heart attack although he had no history of heart ailment or any major disease.
Neither doctor was called in nor was Abiroo taken to any hospital. But those who performed his last ablution and the family members, who were present at the time of the ablution, said the body had become very stiff and was unusually cold. They had noticed some marks on the neck but did not suspect any foul play.
However, family members and those who came to console with the family began asking various questions regarding the sudden and untimely death of Abiroo.
His wife, Asifa, was asked about the Whatsapp and Facebook applications, which were missing from the phone of the deceased, even though he had sent Whatsapp message to a friend a few hours before his death.
One of her uncles had asked Asifa: “You didn’t feel for a second that you were sleeping next to a dead body through the entire night?”
According to the father of the deceased, the uncle’s query led the wife of deceased furious and she had asked her mother to “tell him (uncle) not to come here again”.
There were other red flags that made the family members increasingly suspicious of the wife. She wasn’t as distraught as a wife, who has just lost her husband with whom she has lived for 12 years, is expected to be.
They were not only married for 12 years but had been in a relationship for several years before marriage as well. They had married despite objections by their families. Effectively, they had been together for more than half of their lives. Both were in their mid-thirties. Before being arrested by the police, while the family was mourning, the wife had also sold off a golden bangle that was a gift from her husband.
From the third day of her husband’s death, Asifa had been using her phones a lot, which was thought of unbecoming for a widow.
The family’s suspicion intensified when the co-accused in the murder, Moulvi Tanveer Bhat (Lelhari) Lelhar, Pulwama, visited the family on the third day of Abiroo’s death and delivered a moving sermon to the mourners.
According to the family, the Moulvi then went to the women’s tent to condole the widow and her mother. The family said he had hugged them both.
As the family’s suspicion grew, they had called the woman’s father, brother and uncles and talked about her behaviour. They also told them about certain events in the past that pointed to her extra-marital indiscretions.
Her family members were specifically asked to inquire from her the excessive phone use and other markers that raised suspicion. She had flatly denied. The family of the deceased also paid her Rs 5 lakh as the one-eighth of the inheritance of her husband.
On May 14, Muhammad Shafi Bhat, the father of the deceased filed a complaint with the police station Nowgam suspecting foul play in the death of his son. On the basis of this complaint, police station Nowgam started inquest proceedings under section 174 CrPC.
During proceedings, the family requested Deputy Commissioner Srinagar for exhumation of the body. On May 26, a team of forensic experts from the forensic department of the Government Medical College Srinagar and doctors from health department exhumed the body and conducted the autopsy. Although the final report is yet to be received but the initial findings revealed that the prima facie cause of death is strangulation.
The police then accordingly registered a case FIR No. 52/2018 under 302 RPC and started investigation that was led by SHO Police Station Nowgam Showkat Ahmad Shah.
The police called Moulvi Tanveer for questioning. Initially, he denied everything and the call records of the SIM he was using did not yield much information. Neither did the phone of Asifa, the wife of deceased that she had been using yield anything significant.
However, a few days before his murder, the deceased had passed a certain phone number to his cousin and asked him to fetch its details. The cousin shared the same number with the police, which was traced to Moulvi.
Further investigation revealed that the wife of the deceased had been using the SIM of one Suhail of Lelhar Pulwama, who happens to be the cousin of Moulvi. This SIM card was provided to her by Moulvi and she used it to communicate with her marital and maternal homes. Moulvi after the murder had gone into hiding and the duo had changed their SIM cards. Moulvi had obtained a new SIM card in the name of one Rouf Sadiq of Nowgam for ease of communication with the lady.
Finally, when Moulvi was arrested, he confessed to the crime. The police recovered a broken cellphone which the wife of deceased had thrown out from the window of the house of her brother-in-law where the family was mourning. Another broken phone was recovered near her parents’ house in Aloochibagh. These were the phones she had been using to communicate with her paramour and also one Mobile phone was recovered from the possession of paramour Moulvi.
CONSPIRACY AND MURDER
During investigation it came to the fore that Asifa wife of deceased was caught red handed by her husband while talking to Moulvi on phone, a day before he gave the number to one of his cousins for fetching details. The wife feeling annoyed and angered at this behavior, proceeded to her maternal home and called up Moulvi.
The duo hatched conspiracy to kill Abiroo Shafi and as per plan the wife kept her minor girl child at maternal home. The murder plan was executed between 12 and 12.30 am on the night of March 10 after the wife gave a glass of milk stupefied with sedatives to the deceased.
The Moulvi jumped over the wall of the house and entered inside the room through a window, which had been left open by the wife of deceased. When Abiroo was in deep slumber and too sedated to resist, Moulvi strangulated him with the assistance of deceased’s wife Asifa. The moulvi stayed in the house till early morning before jumping out of the same wall. He took train from Nowgam railway station for his home at Pulwama.
In their confession, the two accused said they were planning to marry and had been in relationship for more than a year. The Moulvi, who was very popular in the locality, used to deliver Friday sermons in the nearby mosque and the deceased had invited him for lunch on several occasions. The deceased had probably got a whiff of the illicit relationship between the two and had informed the local head of Jamiat-e-Ahli Hadees, Abdul Qayoom about Moulvi’s behavior. The Moulvi, who taught in a private school in Pampore, had been asked not to deliver sermons thereafter.
During investigation, the police found that the Moulvi had inquired from a few locals as to who is pursuing the case in the family. He had also confessed to the crime before a few of them. Subsequently, the wife also was arrested and she too confessed to the conspiracy and murder. The lady accused has been sent to judicial custody at Central Jail Srinagar while as Moulvi is still under Police custody with Police Station Nowgam
The father of the deceased, Muhammad Shafi, other relatives and several locals, as per the police spokesperson, visited the police station a few times and thanked SHO Showkat Ahmad and his team for swift and persistent investigation into the crime.
5 dead, as many missing as avalanche hits Khardung La pass
Srinagar, Jan 18: Five persons were killed and five others missing after their truck came under an avalanche in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.
The avalanche hit the truck carrying 10 persons at the Khardung La pass in the Ladakh region at 7 am, an official of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said.
The BRO pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the passengers of the truck, who were believed to be trapped under the debris, he added.
The police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel had also reached the spot, the BRO official said.
“So far, the bodies of five persons have been recovered from the avalanche site, while a search is on for the other missing persons,” he added.
A bulldozer driver posted at the Khardung La Pass said two tippers and a Scorpio vehicle carrying about 12 persons left towards K-top area early morning to load snow to Leh.
“One tipper was already loaded with snow. However, the mishap occurred when they were loading another vehicle. Suddenly, an avalanche hit them and 10 people in a tipper were buried under the snow,” he said.
A senior police official said, “At least 10-12 people were trapped under the snow and a body of a local resident from Leh has been recovered from the area. Fresh snowfall took place in the area on Thursday and they had gone to collect snow in a vehicle.”
Rescue teams of police, Border Roads Organisation and Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Force reached the spot.
A high alert for avalanche was sounded on Thursday by the administration following adverse weather advisory by the Met department.
Guv expresses grief, announces Rs 5 lakh compensation
Jammu, Jan 18: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche at Khardung La in Leh district, Friday morning.
In his message, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, the Governor prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.
Governor has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the next of the kin of those killed in the avalanche.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah too expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the avalanche.
The party spokesman in a statement said that the duo has urged the administration to expedite the rescue operation and ensure all support to the families of the deceased.
Both Farooq and Omar urged the governor administration to gear up its men and machinery to meet any eventuality in wake of heavy snowfall as predicted by the local MeT officials.
Impressing upon the administration to ensure that people don’t have to suffer due to the vagaries of weather, the duo urged the administration to ensure all arterial and other routes are kept open to avoid any suffering to people.
Kashmir braces for heavy snow spell from today
Srinagar, Jan 18: As the meteorological department has predicted another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir region from Saturday onwards, people in Kashmir are readying themselves by keeping ample stock of food and ensuring proper heating arrangements are put in place.
With the western disturbances likely to affect the region, the officials have also warned of disruption of road, rail and air traffic from Saturday afternoon.
“The western disturbances are most likely to affect the state and its adjoining areas from January 19 to 25, with the main activity between January 20 and 23 and gradual decrease thereafter,” Sonam Lotus, director Meteorological department said.
He said moderate to heavy snowfall and rain was expected at widespread places of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.
“Some places may receive very heavy rain and snow during this period,” he said, adding that light snowfall would begin at a few places in Kashmir on Saturday morning and increase in intensity and distribution thereafter.
On Friday, Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.2 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.6, Met office said.
Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 27.1.
Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 0.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.
Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees.
Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.
Jammu city recorded 5.3 degrees Celsius, Katra 6.3, Batote 2.5, Bannihal 0.7 and Bhaderwah minus 0.8 degree Celsius.
Twin grenade attacks in city-centre, Shopian
Srinagar, Jan 18: Less than 24 hours after the Rajbagh grenade attack, militants on Friday carried out two more grenade attacks on government forces in Kashmir, including one in the city-centre Lal Chowk here.
Militants lobbed a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk in the afternoon, a police official said.
The grenade exploded on the roadside, he said, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.
A private car parked on the roadside was partly damaged due to the explosion, the official said.
Window panes of a few shops on either side of the road were also damaged because of the blast.
This was the second such attack on government forces in Srinagar within 24 hours.
Earlier on Thursday, militants had hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge here, resulting in injuries to three policemen.
In another incident on Friday, militants lobbed a grenade at a police camp in Gagran village of Shopian district of south Kashmir. However there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.
A police spokesperson came out with the following statement later in the day: Police had to attend two “terror” crime spots today following the reports of grenade attack by militants at Srinagar and Shopian. Officers from the local police units immediately reached to both the crime spot this (Friday) afternoon to initiate the investigation in the matter.
“While attending the crime spot, officers did not receive any report pertaining to the loss of life or property. Police has registered cases for both the incidents. Officers from the local police units are at work to establish the full circumstances which led to these incidents. If you have any information that can assist police in its investigation, you may kindly contact Police,” the spokesperson said.
The three attacks come days ahead of the Republic day and is likely to push government forces for taking even more stringent ‘security’ arrangements, especially in and around the city.
Later in the day, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the grenade attacks in Srinagar and Shopian.
A spokesperson of JeM Mohammad Hassan in a statement to news agency GNS claimed that three forces personnel were injured in the attack at City Centre Lal Chowk.
He also claimed that several forces personnel were critically injured in the attack at Gagran in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
The Kashmir Monitor also received a phone call from one Hamza Rashid, who said he was the spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front, and claimed the responsibility of the Lal Chowk grenade attack.