The Chembur police resorted to an unconventional trick to lure a murder accused into the open and nab him from his hideout at a hotel in Jammu on Saturday, after a three-month-long game of cat and mouse.
Charanjeet Singh (28) had strangled bar girl and small-time actress Payal Bharadwaj (24) on April 24 at her Adarsh Nagar residence in Chembur and vanished without a trace after she refused his proposal for marriage.
During the preliminary investigation, the police found that the suspect used to call Payal frequently and began tracing his location using the IMEI number on his handset since he had changed his SIM card after committing the crime.
In May, a police team left by train after tracing his location in Punjab, but returned empty-handed, as the suspect had moved by then. His location was once again traced to Jammu and this time the team took a flight to avoid losing valuable time.
A sleuth then called Singh from a PCO in Jammu informing him that his mobile number had been selected for a lucky draw and he had won a surprise gift. Singh eagerly gave the address of the hotel he was staying at so his gift could be delivered. Instead, he was whisked away by the strong arm of the law.
Singh confessed during interrogation that he met Payal at a bar in Panvel and the two were close. He wanted to go to the Gulf to work, but the job opening was for a married couple.
He proposed marriage, but Payal refused. So he followed her home, killed her and escaped through a window.
The accused also told the police that he was preparing to flee to Pakistan.
“He was apprehended in Jammu and was escorted to Mumbai by a team from Chembur police station. During interrogation, Singh told us he killed Payal as he wanted to go abroad and she declined to help him,” said API Sanjay Bhapker.
Senior police inspector B Rathod of Chembur police station said that the accused had plans to leave India.
“He has been arrested under section 302 of Indian Penal Code,” Rathod said.