Murder most macabre

Sick triangle: Sukhjeet (L) was killed in cold blood as he slept

 There was high drama when a police manhunt at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport led to the nabbing of an NRI, Gurpreet Singh alias Mitthu Singh, who was standing in a queue to board a Dubai-bound flight. He was wanted by the police for allegedly killing a childhood friend Sukhjeet Singh, 35, in his ancestral village Basantapur in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur district.

The police also arrested the wife of the deceased, Ramandeep Kaur Maan, who is a British citizen by birth, on the charge of plotting the murder of her husband in cahoots with her lover Mitthu Singh.

The couple’s two kids had also come to Basantapur so that the family could spend time with their grandmother. Sukhjeet was found dead on his bed, lying in a pool of blood on the intervening night of 1-2 September, his throat slit.

This murder is being sensationalised in UK tabloids. The British Foreign Office says it is providing assistance to the British national who had been detained as well as to the family of Sukhjeet Singh. The kids are British nationals by birth and the UK government could take over custody from their grandmother. The Indian community there is demanding a proper investigation in the matter.

The NRI was a transporter in Derbyshire, East Midlands for more than a decade. One day he met Ramandeep Kaur, a British citizen, and fell in love. They married in 2005. Their kids are nine and six years old.

Sukhjeet and Mitthu were in school together. Sukhjeet settled in London whereas Mitthu went off to Dubai, where he lives with his three brothers. The two stayed in touch as friends. In November 2015, Sukhjeet and his family went on a pleasure trip to Dubai on an invitation from Mitthu.

Apparently, Ramandeep and Mitthu hit it off during the 10-day tour. According to cops, the two stayed in touch after that and chatted regularly. Gradually, the relationship grew serious and they began to talk over the phone frequently.

As love blossomed, Mitthu and Ramandeep decided to meet up. Ramandeep planned a visit to her uncle’s place in Jalandhar the following year, where Mitthu was already waiting. During that trip, her relatives took note of her growing fondness for Mitthu and even cautioned her against it. “But she had perhaps decided there was no looking back,” said Pyaara Singh, Sukhjeet’s uncle, who is a DSP with Punjab Police.

The investigating police team picked up clues from a mobile phone found near the bloodstained body of Sukhjeet. It has a family selfie on Sukhjeet’s smartphone that shows him posing with his wife, their two kids, and Mithhu. The picture, clicked when the group was vacationing on the sand dunes of Jodhpur, is barely a few days old. This frame unravelled the crime of passion that has left three families shattered.

The sordid saga spanning Derbyshire, Dubai, Kapurthala and Shahjahanpur ended on 3 September with the arrest of Mitthu at IGI airport. A timely phone call by Shahjahanpur Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar to the airport authorities put brakes on his journey. Security officials managed to detain Mitthu at the airport just 30 minutes before his flight’s scheduled departure. Later, the Shahjahanpur crime branch team took custody and brought Mitthu to Shahjahanpur. Police claim it has recovered the murder weapons.

Having come to know that Mitthu has been arrested, Ramandeep broke down and admitted to cops that she was a party to the crime. She told police that she mixed sleeping pills in the dinner. After the family had eaten, everyone except her fell into a deep sleep. The dogs were also given sleeping pills. Around midnight, Ramandeep informed Mitthu he should come inside. Together they killed Sukhjeet using a hammer and a sickle.

Surely, Sukhjeet had never imagined that his wife and childhood friend would kill him so brutally.

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