After strangling Nilam in Silvassa, husband and his relatives tried to bribe a doctor in Thane to make it seem like an accident; when he refused, they drove till Uttar Pradesh where they dumped the car and fled.
On August 25, the Singh family took a cross-country road trip in their Toyota Innova, all the way from Silvassa in Gujarat to Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, making a pit stop in Thane. Behind this seemingly innocuous journey lies a horrifying tale of greed and murder. Priyesh Singh (25) and his kin had just strangled his 24-year-old wife Nilam, and were driving to find a suitable place to dump the corpse.
Road to perdition: The woman's corpse was recovered from an
abandoned Toyota Innova by the UP police in Jaunpur, three days after
she was murdered in Silvassa.
A Mulund resident, Priyesh co-owns NP Belting Limited at Pimparia, Silvassa, with his father. Whenever members of the Singh family visited Silvassa, they would put up in their flat at Pramukh Vihar Colony. According to investigation reports of the Silvassa police, Priyesh was residing at the flat with Nilam, their one-and-a-half-year-old son Abhishek, elder brother Nilesh, and his parents.
On the night of August 25, he called his elder brother's wife, informing her that an accident had claimed Nilam's life.
Unable to believe his statements, the concerned sister-in-law asked her younger sister, a resident of Navi Mumbai, to make an anonymous phone call to Nilam's family, intimating them that Nilam might be in trouble. The caller requested the family to reach Silvassa at the earliest.
The route taken by the Singhs
After the call, Nilam's elder brother Pradip Singh immediately departed for Silvassa. Reaching the apartment in Pramukh Vihar colony, he found that it was locked. He then registered a complaint with the Silvassa police, on charges of dowry killing, and kidnapping.
"My family owns a petrol pump on the Thane Highway, and it had been mutually agreed upon that it would be divided equally between me, my brother and Nilam after my father's death. But Nilam refused to take any share of the property, and this was a sore point with her husband and in-laws, who started harassing her," said Pradip.
The journey begins
By this time, the cross-country road trip had already commenced. According to Silvassa police officials, the accused had travelled to a hospital in Thane. There, Priyesh and his father Harishshankar met Omprakash Lalthaprasad Tiwari, who helped them bribe a doctor into disposing the body. They requested him to formally attribute Nilam's death to a road accident, and offered Rs 25 lakh for the favour as hush money.
The doctor, however, refused, and turned them away.
Unable to dump the body for fear of detection, they travelled with their cargo all the way to Jaunpur. At Jaunpur, they started receiving phone calls from Silvassa police officials, which they were careful not to answer. Realising that they were being tailed by cops, they abandoned the vehicle, and did not switch off the car's AC. The UP police, who had been briefed about the crime, recovered Nilam's body from the abandoned vehicle on August 28.
Priyesh was arrested in Silvassa on September 2, after which he confessed to his crime. This was followed by the arrests of the vehicle's driver and an accomplice. Priyesh's parents and brother are also wanted in the case.
"Throughout his interrogation, Priyesh kept saying that it was his mother who had killed his wife. He insisted that he had no role to play in Nilam's murder. We would be able to establish the motive and truth behind his claims only when we arrest and question Priyesh's parents," said HC Rathod, police sub-inspector of the Silvassa police station.
Marks on Nilam's body, handed over to Silvassa police station for post mortem, suggested that the death had been caused due to asphyxiation from strangulation.