The Inside Story
Police have unravelled a tangled mystery of two young belly dancers from Uzbekistan ending up dead within days of each other, stuffed in suitcases that were then dumped in far-flung corners of two Indian states and set on fire to cover up one man’s bloody tracks.

The key accused, Gagan, murdered and disposed of 22-year-old Shakhnoza Shukurova two months ago and adopted the same modus operandi about ten days later to eliminate 25-year-old Naaz who was his accomplice in the first crime, Delhi Police officials said.

Gagan was arrested this week, as reported by HT, after Shakhnoza’s charred remains found in a Haryana village were finally identified, revealing a gruesome murder with a whiff of money dispute, professional rivalry and prostitution.

Authorities say Naaz owed Shakhnoza Rs 8 lakh and used Gagan to abduct and murder her on the night of September 24, then disposed of the body in Haryana’s Sonepat district by packing it in a suitcase and burning it.

After police spent days searching for Naaz to arrest her, sources said Gagan revealed during questioning on Thursday that on November 5 he got her drunk, murdered her and got rid of the body in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur district by mirroring the first crime to which she was the sole witness.

While some reports have suggested the two women were part of a high-profile sex racket, police have not made any comments on the issue.

When authorities began inquiring about Shakhnoza and even reached Naaz’s residence, Gagan got worried that she could confess and lead the police to him.

“Gagan reportedly took Naaz out on the pretext of a party and then killed her using the same modus operandi he used to murder Shakhnoza,” said an official. “He drove her to Uttar Pradesh and killed her on the way. He then stuffed her body in a bag and set it on fire in a field in Hapur. The local police had registered a case after finding the body.”

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Killer of Uzbek women was a tough nut to crack, misled cops

Gagan (40), the man who allegedly murdered 22-year-old belly dancer Shakhnoza Shukurova and then her friend Naaz in a similar fashion, is said to have been craftily withholding information and misleading police.

“He has a lot to tell. He just waits for the right time. There is a lot more to this case. He is very tough,” a source said. For five days during interrogation, Gagan did not divulge any information about Naaz’s killing and let the police believe that she is absconding. It was only during a tough round of questioning that Gagan revealed that he got Naaz drunk and then murdered her. He then stuffed her body in a suitcase, drove it to Hapur and then set it afire in a field on November 5 as she was the only witness in Shakhnoza’s murder and “very easy to break”. He feared that once questioned she would easily break down and divulge all facts.

Once the police started to enquire about Naaz, Gagan reportedly planned to eliminate her and let the police believe that she is absconding. On the night of November 5, he called Naaz over on the pretext of having a party and discussing a business deal. He then served her hard liquor and even mixed some drug in her drinks. He waited for her to get completely drunk and after she was semi conscious, he asked her to come with him for a drive. The duo then hit the highway and drove towards UP.

“Gagan took her for a drive and allegedly killed her on the way. He then stuffed Naaz’s body in a suitcase in the same fashion as he did with Shakhnoza to dispose of her body, and then set it on fire in a field near Sambhavali. He waited for the body to at least burn partially so that it is not recognisable and then left the place,” a police source said.

Gagan then reportedly got his car to Khirki Extension in Malviya Nagar and consumed beer. To get rid of the car till the investigation in the matter is on, he parked it at one spot in a crowded lane and told the neighbours that he is going out of station and will take it once he returns. “We recovered the car from Malviya Nagar in which mobile parts, a bottle of beer and some clothes were recovered. It appears that Gagan broke his phone, damaged the SIM and the IEMI number on the phone so that his location on the night of September 24 and November 5 could not be traced,” police said.

Sources said, Gagan even told the police that he did not intend to kill Shakhnoza and had called her to sort out issues between her and Naaz. He told the police that he had just gagged Shakhnoza and she died accidentally. “He initially maintained that he was trying to convince Shakhnoza to return Naaz’s passport that she had kept with her as security deposit and would not return it until Naaz gave her Rs 8 lakh that she owed her. However, Naaz wanted to go back to Uzbekistan to see her parents and Shakhnoza was not giving her the passport. He said that he had just gagged Shakhnoza but she died accidentally but later admitted that they called her with an intention to eliminate her,” police said.

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Uzbekistan belly dancer’s murder mystery solved

Police arrested a man on Monday who allegedly murdered a young belly dancer from Uzbekistan, stuffed her body in a suitcase and set it on fire at a remote village in Haryana two months ago.
Two days after 22-year-old Shakhunoza Shukurova went missing, Haryana police recovered the partially charred body and registered a case of murder even as the victim’s mother was frantically searching for her in Delhi and pleading with authorities. The body was identified only on Monday afternoon.

Shakhunoza was allegedly abducted on September 24 and driven to Haryana by the main accused, Gagan, and Naaz, who’s also from Uzbekistan and was a friend of the victim.
“Gagan narrated the entire episode during questioning of how Naaz and he first called Shakhunoza on the pretext of settling a monetary dispute and then took her to Haryana,” said a senior police officer. “He confessed that they strangled her to death and then put her body in a big suitcase. They then started searching for an appropriate place to get rid of the body and reached Samalkha (town).”

They dumped the suitcase in a field behind the residence of a local politician at Karhans village near Samalkha and then set the bag on fire, police said.

“On the basis of the complaint filed by Shakhunoza’s driver, we registered a case of kidnapping and called Naaz and Gagan for questioning,” an officer said. “Following Gagan’s confession, a team was sent to Samalkha to inspect the spot where the body was burnt.”

However, Delhi police officials discovered their Haryana counterparts had cremated the body after registering a case and a post-mortem examination.
They have now picked up circumstantial evidence from the spot and sent it for forensic examination.

“The DNA samples of her mother will now be matched with the samples lifted from the spot. Gagan has been arrested and we are looking for Naaz who is absconding,” said another officer.

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