The Inside Story
Cops accuse victim’s husband of masterminding Palwal murder

NEW DELHI: Police have detained the chief of circulation of a well-known business magazine, claiming he had masterminded the murder of his 38-year-old wife, Satvinder, whose body was found near Palwal on the Delhi-Agra highway, two weeks ago.

The police said on Wednesday they have clinching evidence to arrest Mukesh Lakhanpal for his wife's murder.

"We have conclusive evidence that Lakhanpal planned and executed the murder. We have detained him and his arrest will be made very soon. He had hired three men to carry out the murder,'' said SP (Palwal) Jagat Singh Hooda. A hunt is on for the three killers, who had tied up Lakhanpal while killing Satvinder.

Police said Mukesh was in the centre of suspicion from day one because of his inconsistent statements. "He finally broke down and said he had asked the three men to stop at a designated place once they crossed the Tumasera highway toll while returning from Agra," said a source.

Cops refused to speculate on the motive for the murder. "We will question Mukesh to establish the exact reasons why he decided to murder his wife," the source said. Sources claimed the murder was well-planned. Once the accused reached the designated spot - about 600 metres from the toll booth - he parked his car claiming he needed to relieve himself. The three men then took Satvinder to the fields and murdered her, cops said.

The accused had decided to dump the body somewhere else but abandoned the plan after the car's tyres got stuck in the fields. The accused then tied up Mukesh to a tree in an effort to pass it off as a highway robbery, police said.

The police said Mukesh got trapped in his own statements. "In the beginning, he had once spoken of four men instead of three and had even claimed he was driving towards Agra (there are U-turns in the area) and then changed his statement.

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