A Major in the Indian Army, Nikhil Handa, was arrested from Meerut on Sunday in connection with the murder of the wife of another officer whose body was discovered a day earlier in the Delhi Cantonment area. However, media reports have asserted that police officers probing the case have said that the accused was obsessed with the victim and killed her allegedly after she turned down his marriage proposal.
The murder came to light on Saturday afternoon when the body of a woman, believed to be in her early thirties, was discovered near the Delhi Cantonment Metro station. The victim was later identified as Shailja Dwivedi, wife of Major Amit Dwivedi. Her throat was slit and her body reportedly run over by a car several times. As per preliminary investigation, the cause of death appeared to be an accident but further inquiry suggested that she was murdered. “The initial information was that of an accident but our probe has indicated homicide,” Joint Commissioner of Police, Madhup Tiwari said.
A day after the body of 35-year-old Shailza Dwivedi, wife of Indian Army Major Amit Dwivedi, was found on an isolated road near Brar Square, police said they had arrested Major Nikhil Rai Handa from the army’s cantonment in Meerut as he was trying to flee.
A police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Handa was “obsessed” with Shailza and was enraged because she had been snubbing his advances and was trying to distance herself from him. Shailza’s family, too, accused Handa of stalking her. Her brother, a lawyer in Amritsar, alleged that Handa had mistaken his sister’s “friendly behaviour” as a signal that she liked him.
The police were initially informed that Shailza had died in an accident. When they inspected her body, the officials discovered that she had been attacked.
During his questioning, Handa said Shailza was “over-obsessed” with him and had been pressuring him to divorce his wife and marry her, the official said. The arrested army officer has confessed to killing Shailza, saying he committed the crime to “get rid of her”, he added.
Madhup Tiwari, joint commissioner of police (western range), said they were investigating the claims made by Handa. “What we know so far is that the army officer was obsessed with the woman. We will question him further,” said Tiwari, adding that Handa used a pocket knife to slit Shailza’s throat.
Major Handa, who is married with two kids, knew the women and her husband, also a Major in the Army, since 2015 when they both were posted in Nagaland, the DCP said.
The woman’s husband spotted Major Handa in the CCTV footage of the hospital, where his wife had gone for a physiotherapy session and went missing from there, and told the police that he suspected him.
The police then started looking for Handa and found that he was in touch with a couple of friends and was hiding at the Officers’ Mess in Meerut Cantonment.
A Delhi Police team reached Meerut and nabbed Major Handa when he was trying to escape from there in his silver-coloured car, officials said.
Major Handa was arrested by the team. After the arrest, they informed their counterparts in Meerut. Two knives were found in his car, which indicates that he might have planned it in advance, police said.
Initially, the police was informed that a woman had died in an accident. Later, when they inspected the body, it was found that her throat was slit, they said.