Srinagar Student Killed Friend Over Girl Neither Had Met, Hid Body: Cops

15 July 2009
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Police say he killed his closest friend over a girl living in a city 850 km away, whom neither of them had ever met or seen. Imran Aslam Baba, 20, allegedly smashed the skull of Asrar Mushtaq Dar because he was jealous of Asrar’s ‘friendship’ with a Delhi girl on social networking site Orkut, wrapped the head with cellotape to keep its contents from spilling, and later threw the body in a graveyard. Investigators have revealed the death of a 19-year-old student that sparked violent, separatist-led protests and shut down Srinagar for three days last week for what it really was: a crime of passion of the kind never seen before in the Kashmir Valley. Around 12.30 pm on July 4, Srinagar resident Mushtaq Ahmed Dar filed a report at Maisuma police station saying his son Asrar was missing from home since the previous afternoon. On July 7, police found Asrar’s decomposed body at a graveyard near Kathidarwaza, its battered head held together with tape. As the body was brought to the teen’s home in the volatile Maisuma locality, massive, violent protests erupted in the city. A police vehicle was burnt, and protesters vandalized public property along Srinagar’s main Maulana Azad Road. Battling separatist allegations that Asrar had been abducted by security forces and killed in custody, almost the entire police force of Srinagar, including its technical unit, joined hands in the investigation. A week and 20 arrests later, this is what they found. In the months before he died, Asrar, an avid online social networker, had been introduced by his friend, Imran Aslam Baba, to an unknown Delhi girl whom the latter had been courting online on Orkut. “Soon, the girl started getting closer to Asrar and distancing herself from Imran. Two months ago, the girl finally removed Imran from her ‘friends’ list on the site,” said Srinagar SSP Ahfad-ul-Mujtaba. “Consumed by rage and jealousy, Imran planned to murder Asrar.” On July 3, Asrar left home to meet Imran and give him a pen drive - and disappeared. Imran told police he had last seen Asrar at Karanagar, 3 km from his (Asrar’s) home, in the company of a young man wearing a cap. The police worked their way through five thousand admission forms at Islamia College where Asrar studied, and showed the picture of every student with a cap to Imran, without any luck. “In the beginning, we did not suspect Imran. He gave the impression that he was distraught and wanted to help,” said Muzaffar Ahmad, Station House Officer, Rainawari, who headed the investigations. “But he was misleading us.” From an analysis of call records, investigators found Asrar’s mobile phone was active near Nowshera tower, 10 km away, at 9.24 pm that night. Asrar’s last call had been to Imran. And the tower location of Imran’s phone was exactly the same around that time that night. The investigators then started checking Imran’s story with his family and found contradictions. “His sister Ayman gave us a completely different story,” Ahmad said. Imran was put through sustained questioning. “He finally broke down and revealed the murder plot. He also named his accomplice in the crime, his friend Asim Ali Vaida,” said Ahmad. Imran told the police he was angry with Asrar for “stealing his female friend, whom he had met and developed an intimate relationship with on Orkut”. On July 3, he met Asrar at Karanagar and took him to his home at Ellahibagh on the outskirts of Srinagar. “In his room, Imran and Asim smashed Asrar’s head with a steel weightlifting rod. Imran then put adhesive tape around Asrar’s head and face, and hid the body under the bed,” SSP Mujtaba said. “He then went on a joyride with Asim on Asrar’s bike, and returned home very late.” “On July 7, when Asrar’s body started stinking, Imran took it out, dumped it in his uncle’s Maruti, and drove with Asim to Malkhah Rainawari, where they threw the body in a graveyard,” Mujtaba said. Imran, the SSP said, had managed to mislead investigators for a long time. “He was the victim’s closest friend. And from the way he behaved after the body was found, nobody could have suspected him.” Investigators said Imran threw Asrar’s blood-soaked clothes, mobile phone and SIM at separate places. But he gave the victim’s bike to Asim, who hid it in his house. Police have recovered the bike.