NEW DELHI -- It was a love story that went horribly wrong. She was 21, just about to graduate from college this spring. He was 23, and had been dating her and wanted to marry her. But when the couple's families objected, he decided to move on.
It was four months ago when Arzoo Singh Chauhan, a final-year, Hindi Honours student in Delhi University's Laxmibai college, and Naveen Khatri, her 23-year-old neighbour from north Delhi, had to part ways after their families refused to get them married to each other. While reports suggest that they continued to meet in secret, Khatri's family had other plans for their son.
They soon found a match for him and fixed a date for his marriage. According to the police, Khatri met Chauhan outside her college last Tuesday, and even asked her to help him distribute the invitations for his marriage on 4 February. Sometime during this meeting, an altercation broke out between them, and he allegedly ended up strangling Chauhan with a shawl.
A purse near the international airport, and a solitary shoe that seemingly fell from Chauhan's feet a little further away are the only remnants of the alleged struggle between the ex-lovers that resulted in Chauhan's death.
Delhi police believe that Khatri panicked, and unsuccessfully tried to burn the body, and then packed it into the trunk of the car he was driving, unsure where to hide it. He allegedly then drove home that evening, leaving the body in the car overnight until the crack of dawn, when he woke up and apparently dragged the body to his house where he hid it in a ventilation shaft. The police are still investigating whether he confided in anyone else following the murder. Joint commissioner of police, Sanjay Singh, has told The Indian Express that Khatri has named an accomplice during interrogation but their role hasn't been established yet.
It did not end there. Two days later, Khatri got married, all the time spraying his house with the dozens of bottles of perfume he had bought to hide the stench of the decomposing body. His wedding guests reportedly teased him about it, assuming that his strange action was the result of his excitement about getting married.
22 Yr old girl killed by her boyfriend Naveen Khatri in Delhi's Model Town area. pic.twitter.com/yxJNJadoFs— Jitender Sharma (@capt_ivane) February 7, 2016
Meanwhile, after Chauhan did not return home, her parents lodged a missing complaint, which ultimately led to Khatri. By the time the police arrived, he had left for the airport with his new wife, who was unaware that the "stench" she had complained about the previous night was actually the rotting corpse of her husband's ex-girlfriend.
When investigators caught up with Khatri and detained him at the airport, he claimed that Singh had been pressuring him to marry her against their families' wishes, and even claimed that she was pregnant. The preliminary autopsy report has revealed that she was not pregnant, and that she had indeed died of asphyxiation. Besides the wounds on her body, her side of the story will never be fully known.
Police also suspect the involvement of Khatri's father, who is a murder convict in a separate case, and has been in jail since 2005. He was out on parole to attend his son's wedding and is suspected to have helped his son hide Singh's body. Police are yet to formally charge him in the case.
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