Gurgaon gangster's shootout: 'My only mistake was being in the same room when Gadoli was shot'
Divya Pahuja is the only person who knows what really happened that fateful day when she saw her boyfriend, the notorious gangster Sandeep Gadoli, killed at the hands of the Haryana police. And yet, she is the one person who has stayed silent. Until now, that is.
Now a suspect in the murder case, Divya has evaded the Mumbai police for nearly two months, but the 19-year-old finally agreed to tell her side of the story to mid-day. In an exclusive chat on Instagram, she revealed details of that bloody shootout in an Andheri hotel, and denied any involvement in Gadoli’s death.
Divya Pahuja has been active on social media and uploaded this picture on Facebook
“I seriously did not do anything. I belong to a middle-class family and am a simple girl. My only mistake was being in the same room when the shootout happened. The day they prove that I was involved, I will surrender to the police. Ask them to prove it first,” she told this reporter.
Mumbai Police had alleged that she was the one who had tipped off the Haryana police about Gadoli’s location, after which they were able to track him down and kill him. While she was travelling with Gadoli, she would give regular updates to her mother, and would also frequently make posts on Facebook and other social media. Now on the run herself, Divya is more careful about keeping her whereabouts a secret. “There is a threat to my life, I can’t reveal my location. But wherever I am, I am safe,” said Divya, who went missing after the cops released her around two months ago.
Divya said she was Gadoli’s girlfriend for a very short time — just a month or so. She claimed that during all that time, she never knew that he was a gangster, despite the fact that he would often put a gun to her head to force her to do simple things, like finish a meal.
“He was very caring, but behaved awkwardly at times. If I did not eat food, he put his gun to my head and forced me to eat,” she said, adding, “He always carried a gun with him and whenever I asked him why, he told me he was not a good person. But I never knew he was a gangster. He was introduced to me by our mutual friend Manish. Manish was helping me find a job and he introduced me to Sandeep by the name of Rishab. I met him three to four times; he was very caring. We were together for only about a month. I was happy to meet him. They had planned an outing; we went to Jaipur, then came to Mumbai by road.”
That fateful day...
One of the most pertinent claims Divya made about the shootout at Andheri Metro hotel on February 7, was that Gadoli was, in fact, armed, and shots were fired by him and the police.
“I was in the room and it was morning when the door bell rang. A boy came and handed over a razor to Sandeep and went. A few moments later, the door bell rang again and I opened the door. This time, there were two men with the boy. While I was wondering who these men were, one of them said, ‘Sandeep, aaja bahar, Haryana police.’ Then Sandeep got hold of his gun and firing started from both ends. Hardly two shots were fired and they were out of the room,” said Divya.
She added, “I was in fear as I thought they were some enemies of Sandeep. In no time, they neared me and I thought it was my turn to be gunned down, as I had already seen them kill him. I screamed for help, but one of them came close to me and said, ‘Gudiya darr mat ham haryarana police hai’ (Doll, don’t get scared we are Haryana Police). I was shocked and did not understand what was going on.”
“I was in the custody of Mumbai police for 15 days. They detained me illegally and took my passport away. My life has been ruined, my younger sister lost her job, my mother and father are suffering for something they have not done. What have I done? Why me? Catch the one who is responsible. I don’t want to go to jail. I would rather die,” she said.
Excerpts from the interview
Q. We have heard that there is a threat to your life and that’s why you are not willing to surrender. Is it true?
Divya – Yes, Kuldeep (Gadoli’s brother) was searching for me like hell. Mar jaungi lekin jail nahi jaungi (I will die but won’t go to jail). What’s my fault?
Q. Police has claimed that you were in touch with your mother throughout the journey and she in turn passed on information to the Haryana police.
Divya – Did they get anything from me or from my phone? Obviously, if she asks me where I am and what I am doing, I will tell my mother. How would I know what she did after that? When even I did not know he was Sandeep Gadoli the gangster, how would my mother have known?
Q. But according to the police there was no exchange of fire from Gadoli’s side.
Divya – How do they know? Wo room me aaye the, unhone dekha? (Were they in the room, did they see?)
Q. What was your reaction when the incident took place? Who did you call first after you saw Gadoli killed?
Divya – When the firing was going on outside, room me call aaya landline pe (A call came on the landline in the room). Manish was on the line, he asked, ‘Divya kya hua’, I said, ‘Manish neeche aa jaldi’ (Manish asked what happened and I told him to come down quickly).
Q. Why don’t you surrender to the police?
Divya – Kyu karu, maine kya kiya hai? (Why should I, what have I done?)
Q. Did Haryana police approach you afterwards?
Divya – No, they did not.
Q. Did the police tell you that they have call records that show you were in touch with the Haryana police team?
Divya – No, I was not in touch with Haryana police. Maine pehli baar dekha tha (I saw them for the first time). Ask them to show the call records; I bet they can’t. Jis din dikha denge (the day they show it), I will surrender. Let them prove it.
Q. Were you in a serious relationship with Sandeep Gadoli?
Divya – It was just one month and I met him only four to five times. One month is too less for a serious relationship.
Q. But one day you will have to face the action, until when will you hide?
Divya – Mar jaungi but I will not come forward, kya milega in logo ko ek ladki ki jaan leke. Iska result kuch nahi ayega, agar ye jada irritate karte rahe to I will die soon. (I will die but will not come forward. What will they get after taking my life? If they keep irritating me, I will die soon).
The interview was done on the social media platform, Instagram.
Shootout in Andheri
Sandeep Gadoli was wanted for 36 serious criminal offences, and was gunned down in an Andheri hotel on February 7 by a team of eight cops from Gurgaon.
Gadoli died after receiving three bullet injuries. An inquiry was launched into the shootout after several loopholes emerged in the Gurgaon police’s version of events and a Special Investigation Team was formed to investigate the matter.
The Gurgaon cops said they had gone to arrest Gadoli, but he opened fire on them and they fired back in retaliation, leading to his death. But his family claimed that the encounter was staged and that the cops were acting at the behest of Gadoli’s rival and Gurgaon politician Binder Gujjar.