New Delhi: Almost six months pregnant, she sits with her three-year-old son in her lap, weeping in their Kalyanpuri house. She alleges that her father-in-law sexually assaulted her as well as her sister-in-law. The man in question is Anjan Das, who was murdered in May, allegedly by her husband Deepak and mother-in-law Poonam Devi due to his abuse.
She claimed that Das molested and even attempted to rape them, multiple times. So much so that she, her son and her husband Deepak shifted out of their joint family residence in Trilokpuri.
The sisters-in-law claim that the family tried to reason with Das but he wouldn’t listen which led to Deepak and Poonam hatching a conspiracy to kill him.
45-year-old Das was allegedly stabbed to death, his body chopped up and packed in 10 packets and disposed of by Devi and her son Deepak.
The two women in their twenties claim they knew Das was killed by Poonam and Deepak but had no knowledge of how he was killed and how his remains were disposed of.
Married off for the first time at the age of 13, Poonam’s first husband Sukhdev Tiwari came to Delhi for work in 1997 but he couldn’t be traced. Her second husband Kalyan Singh alias Kallu died in 2016 from alcoholism. Das and Poonam got married in 2011; she was his second wife. Police claim that it was only much later that Poonam became aware of Das’ previous marriage.
Molestation, abuse, attempt to rape
Deepak’s wife said he told her that he had killed Das “one night in June”. “I didn’t know how to react but we always knew that they would get caught. We felt helpless,” she said.
She also claimed that Das kept trying to rape her even after they had moved out of Trilokpuri. “He would make Deepak get drunk and then in lieu of dropping him home, he would grope me. He would wait for my husband to fall asleep and then try to disrobe me. He would hold me against the walls and cover my mouth. This went on for months.”
Then one night Deepak woke up and saw Das molesting her, she said, which led to a fight between them. “He was asked to never come here but he kept doing so. I told my mother-in-law about it.”
Deepak’s sister, now divorced, said that she started living at the family residence in Trilokpuri due to problems with her husband, but she had to go back to staying at her in-laws’ house due harassment by Das. But, she would visit her family home frequently.
“He wouldn’t leave a chance to grope me. He would push himself on me. I told my mother and brother about it. It was torture,” the sister, who works at a beauty parlour, said.
“My husband couldn’t take it and killed that man. Who wouldn’t have done it?” asked Deepak’s wife.
Both women claimed that they informed the police about the harassment, but DCP (Crime) Amit Goel said that so far the investigation hasn’t revealed any formal or written complaint given to the local police by the family members.
Murdered, chopped and discarded
According to the police, Deepak and his mother Poonam Devi conspired to kill Das sometime in April. They added that Das, who worked as an elevator operator, was an alcoholic. He had left his job, started stealing Devi’s jewellery and cash, and sending it to his first wife and eight children.
The mother-son duo killed him in May, chopped him up in 10 pieces, stored the remains in the fridge and disposed of them in the next two days.
On the day of the murder — 30 May, Deepak’s sister was visiting them, he asked her to go stay at his home in Kalyanpuri. According to the police, he and Poonam then allegedly gave sleeping pills and alcohol to Das which led him to lose consciousness. He was then stabbed to death, blood drained and body chopped to pieces.
The media, the police and the neighbours were packed Monday into the tiny lanes of Block D in Trilokpuri. There was a strange eerie silence right outside the house — the alleged crime scene. Neighbours said they never heard any screams or sounds of chopping but were spooked by the news.
“They moved in some four years ago. We hadn’t seen Anjan Das in a while but were told that he has gone to Bihar so we didn’t question it,” Sushila, 45, a neighbour who lives with her husband and two children, said.
Another immediate neighbour said, “We moved here two years ago. They were so normal. We would see Deepak and his child coming here sometimes.”
(Edited by Theres Sudeep)