The carjackers who dragged a 43-year-old cab driver for around a kilometre under his own vehicle, resulting in his death, targeted the victim’s sedan to fund mounting legal costs of the cases already lodged against them, the police chargesheet has revealed. The incident took place last October near the IGI Airport.
The chargesheet, filed before Metropolitan Magistrate Animesh Tripathi of Patiala House Court, names accused Mehraj Salmani, 34, and Asif Anwar, 24, both of whom hail from Meerut. The deceased, Bijender Shah, was a resident of Surya Colony in Faridabad.
The chargesheet stated that Mehraj and Asif have been involved in several cases of carjacking and burglary in UP, and “in order to fund the legal costs of cases under trial”, both planned to rob a vehicle in Delhi and sell it to another accomplice in Meerut at a profitable price.
According to the chargesheet, “Asif stated that he took to crime at a very young age after he got into bad company and he, along with his accomplices Mehraj, Farman and Abid, committed several crimes. The cases started taking a financial toll on them, after which he and Mehraj planned to rob a vehicle which they will give (were planning to give) to one Nadim in Meerut at a profitable price… Mehraj then came to Asif’s house in Noida on October 10… Asif stayed in Noida’s Bhangel along with his wife… both the accused made the plan on the same day, around 4.30 pm, after which they boarded a cab from Saket, where they first consumed alcohol and then asked the cab driver to drive towards the IGI Airport. Mehraj was sitting in the front seat while Asif was sitting in the backseat.”
Mehraj has over six criminal cases against him, including in Delhi and UP, while Asif has nine cases against him, including that of robbery and carjacking, in the two states.
Police had said that the accused had plans to rob several other persons at the IGI Airport by posing as cab drivers of the stolen car and luring their targets inside the vehicle for a ride. The chargesheet further said that the accused persons asked Shah to stop near a CNG pump. After this, Asif tried to choke Shah with a white cloth that he took out of his bag while Mehraj tried to push the cab driver out of the car.
“The victim then fell on the road while resisting the robbery bid and got dragged after his seat belt got stuck,” added the chargesheet.
Police added murder charges to the case after it surfaced that both the accused persons knowingly kept driving the car despite knowing that Shah was stuck to the seat belt and was being dragged.
Police arrested Mehraj and Asif with the help of CCTV cameras and a 44-second video clip shot by the driver of a vehicle which was right behind Shah’s Swift Dzire. The driver of the second car kept honking at the vehicle as Shah was being dragged away following which the accused suddenly hit the brakes, as a result of which Shah’s body got dislodged and was later found by the police on NH-48.
The accused were arrested in a joint operation of the Meerut and Delhi Police, a day after Shah’s body was found with severe head injuries.
Shah, who worked with a taxi aggregator, is survived by his wife and five children. His family hails from Bihar’s Motihari district.