New Delhi: An Army Major, “obsessed” with his colleague’s wife, was on Sunday arrested for killing her by slashing her throat and running his car over her to make it look like an accident.
Delhi police arrested Nikhil Rai Handa from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh – more than 100 km from Delhi – and recovered a Honda City car in which he committed the gruesome murder on Saturday.
Handa told investigators that he had an argument with Shailja, 35, wife of another Major Amit Dwivedi, in his car and slashed her throat with a “Swiss knife” before pushing her out on the road.
“To make it look like an accident, Handa then ran over his car on Shailja. Handa had an obsession with Shailja and was pressurising her to marry him,” deputy commissioner of police Vijay Kumar said in a media briefing.
Handa revealed during interrogation that he knew Shailja since 2015 and in 2017, he and the victim’s husband were posted together in Dimapur in Nagaland.
“While Amit was there with his family, Handa lived alone,” he said.
As Shailja came to Delhi two months ago and started residing in Army quarters in Naraina near the Cantonment with her husband who was assigned to leave for a deputation to Sudan for a United Nation’s mission in a couple of weeks, Handa also came here on June 2.
When Handa came to know that Shailja was undergoing physiotherapy at the Base Hospital in the Cantonment area, he also started taking migraine treatment in the same hospital to maintain proximity with the victim, said the official, adding he also got his child admitted to that hospital.
Shailja, who hailed from Amritsar, had been coming to the hospital for the last four days for treatment of her ankle.
Around 10 am on Saturday, Shailja left home in an Army vehicle for the physiotherapy session but she went with Handa in his car from outside the hospital as their image was captured in a CCTV camera installed there, the official said.
When the driver went to pick her up later, he was informed that she had not attended the session. Later in the afternoon, her body was spotted by a passer-by near Brar Square.
“Though they shared a strong friendship, Shailja was not in a situation to get married to Handa. They had an altercation in the car over the issue after which he killed her,” the official said.
The official said “it seems that Handa slit Shailja’s throat suddenly as there was no resistance mark in the car but her clothes were torn which means that she made failed attempts to save herself when she was run over.
“Handa’s car has enough evidence against him. There are blood stains on the tyres. There were multiple knives in the car including a Swiss knife which was used in the murder.” Investigators said they began to suspect Handa as there were a huge number of calls exchanged between them – the maximum of them made by the Major.
“Victim’s husband had once caught the two on a video call. He informed us that he didn’t want Handa to ever be seen around his wife or family.”
On the day of the murder, Handa had called Shailja early in the morning, asking her to meet him. After the murder, Handa went back to his temporary residence in South Delhi’s Saket area, he visited the Base hospital to inquire what was going on and moved on multiple locations in Delhi before fleeing to Meerut.
“Handa kept his phone switched off, didn’t maintain any contact with anyone, not even his family members. Even though he kept his phone off, he used the calling feature on WhatsApp in between which helped us to track his location,” the official said.