'If Qasab can kill 155 and live, so will you'
In an ingenious gambit to convince the accused in the Antop Hill double murder case that killing isn't a big deal, Crime Branch cops referred to Afzal Guru, Qasab to get him to confess
Counterintuitive though this may sound, but the examples of 26/11 convict Ajmal Qasab and 2006 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru served to secure the confession of the prime suspect in the Antop Hill double murder case.
Bereaved: Santosh Railkar, father of three-year-old Vaishnavi who was
murdered by Sonu, says he is grateful that his name has been cleared in
the case, as his wife sits next to him at their residence at Indira Nagar
Cooperative society in Antop Hill. Pic/Shadab Khan
Two days after MiD DAY reported about the arrest of Vishal Shrivastava alias Sonu for murdering Ranjana Nagodkar (55) and her granddaughter Vaishnavi Railkar (3) on June 3, it has come to light that his confession was recorded after cops came up with this stratagem: convince him that murder isn't a serious offence and he'll talk.
In their ploy to get him to own up, officials of Unit II of Crime Branch cited the Pakistani terror operatives, and dissembled the facts about their trial, telling him how Qasab and Afzal still hadn't met the noose.
Somehow, it worked.
"Remember, how Qasab killed more than 150 people, but what happened to him? See Afzal Guru, who attacked our Parliament, but nothing has happened to him till now. You have only killed two people; you will be out in no time. Do you believe in us? Because we are yours friends," cops told him after they picked him up for interrogation. "Trust us, the murder accused hardly spends three months in jail."
Sonu was bemused. "He inquired about our claims. When he was satisfied that murder is not a serious offence, he accepted that he had killed the two," said an officer of the investigation team.
It took officials of Unit II of Crime Branch close to five months to crack the case as they were taken in by the fact that Sonu was a homosexual and believed that he couldn't have committed the gruesome murders ('We didn't suspect him as he was gay', October 22, MiD DAY).
Sonu was a neighbour of the victims and they treated him like family. But he betrayed their trust, and robbed Rs 3,500 in cash and 25 tolas of gold ornaments after killing them.
After the incident, several units of Crime Branch and Antop Hill police interrogated him, but he did not accept his crime. Sources said that Sonu tried to distract any officer who started interrogating by telling them that he was gay.
"The officials showed interest in his gay story, and not in the murder case. For the longest time, they tried to pin Vaishnavi's father, Santosh, for murdering her and her grandmother," said a police source.
Said Santosh, "They tortured and forced to me to accept the crime. They even did my narco test, but found nothing. I gave several clues that Sonu may have killed my daughter and mother-in-law, but the police did not believe me,"
He added, "But I am thankful to the officers of Unit II, specially Subhash Mali and Hriday Mishra, who saved my life."
Sonu was finally arrested from his native place of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
Sonu (21) lived in the same building in Antop Hill as his murder victims. He has completed five of six semesters of a hotel management course in Bharatiya Vidyapeeth in Belapur. His brother lives in the US.
For a couple of months, he had stopped sending money to him, and Sonu wanted money to buy branded clothes and luxury goods, and attend parties. So he planned to rob the Railkar family, and ended up killing Vaishnavi (3) and her grandmother Ranjana.