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Man Cooks Up Daughter's Murder Story To Get A Week's Leave

Shankar Iyer,  45, was  desperate to get a week's leave from work, and so he cooked up a story about the gruesome murder of his daughter at the BARC complex on Tuesday. But his cover
PTI September 24, 2010 10:00 IST
Shankar Iyer,  45, was  desperate to get a week's leave from work, and so he cooked up a story about the gruesome murder of his daughter at the BARC complex on Tuesday. But his cover was blown when his worried employer phone the Trombay police triggering panic and an alert at the highly sensitive research centre, reports Mumbai Mirror.

Originally from Chennai, Shankar Iyer has worked as a storekeeper at a Chembur banquet hall since 2007. His wife Meena, with whom he is now separated, is a senior stenographer in the Nuclear department in BARC. She lives with her daughter Sonia, a 21-year-old engineering student, in the BARC compound.

On Wednesday, Shankar, who had recently been denied leave due to frequent absenteeism, went to his boss Karanjeet Singh with an elaborate story of a brutal tragedy in the family. He said that his daughter, Sonia, had gone to buy vegetables at the BARC complex market on Tuesday afternoon when two local men in their late 20s, both children of BARC scientists, sexually harassed her. When she resisted their advances, he said, they stabbed her 15 times in broad daylight, killing her on the spot.

Shankar said that the men were caught by security guards while trying to escape, and handed over the Trombay police. He said that he was called by the cops for a statement, but when he reached the police station, the officers there threatened him with dire consequences if he insisted on registering a case against the murderers. Instead, they filed a fraud case of accident, saying she had been hit by a BEST bus, and sent him off. Now, he said, he had to take the body to Chennai for the funeral.

While Karanjeet granted him leave immediately, he was disturbed by both the incident and police's attitude. He decided to call the Trombay Police Station and express his dismay directly. The officer who received the call was stunned at the news of a murder and alleged cover-up in the highly sensitive BARC compound, where security is provided by CRPF but which still comes under the city police's purview.

When we heard the matter was related to BARC, there was panic at the Police Station,” Senior Inspector Sanjay Khaire told Mumbai Mirror. “We were shocked that such an incident could happen in a place like that. I called up various department heads at the centre, but no one had heard of any such incident.”

An alert was sounded in BARC, which itself immediately started an internal inquiry. “When did it happen? Where is the body? We wanted answers to these questions. We beefed up security, started nakabandi, and stationed 25 additional cops outside the compound,” ACP Jalindar Khandagle, who was involved in the arrangements, said.

But after no sign of such an incident emerged despite investigating for hours, the cops figured that the story just didn't add up. They then decided to search for Shankar Iyer, who they found at his Chembur house, busy packing for a holiday.

He first started telling the cops that he had been threatened by their colleagues to keep quiet, and that he had a copy of the post-mortem report as evidence. But on further questioning, he admitted that it had all been a story he had cooked up to get leave.

“His wife and daughter are both safe. We met Sonia. She's absolutely fine,” Khandagle said.

When contacted, an official spokesperson from BARC, declined to confirm or deny the story. “These are personal matters. We cannot comment on them,” he said.

For banquet-hall owner Karanjeet, however, the episode was a rude shock. “I completely believed Shankar's story because couldn't imagine anyone could cook up such a story,” he said. “We just came to know the truth because we were worried. We've decided to sack him now.”