In a major turnaround in the Junaid Khan lynching case, the police on Sunday claimed that the killing had nothing to do with beef, instead it was a result of an altercation over a seat in the Delhi-Mathura train. Addressing a press conference after the arrest of the prime accused, Government Railway Police (GRP) SP Kamaldeep Goyal said that the accused has confessed to stabbing Junaid and his brother during police interrogation.
He said that the accused, whose identity will be revealed later, worked as a private security guard in Delhi. "Our team picked up the prime accused from Dhule, Maharashtra, on Saturday. He will be produced in the court later today," said SP Kamaldeep Goyal.
The accused has been sent to two-day remand in custody. The murder weapon, however, is yet to be recovered.
He added that the accused stayed at his home (in Palwal district) and went to Dhule later to someone known to him. He started working there.
The DCP said that the murder weapon, a knife, was yet to be recovered. He said the accused had admitted to the crime.
On the claim of the victim's brothers that they were called "beef eaters" by the accused, Goyal said, "No such thing has come to the fore during the main accused's questioning so far."
He said the accused, whose identity was being withheld pending completion of some legal procedure, had boarded the train from Shivaji bridge station in Delhi.
"During his questioning so far, the main accused has confessed to having stabbed Junaid and attacking his brothers," he claimed.
The weapon has not been recovered so far, he said, adding the accused told the police that the knife, with which he attacked Junaid, was in his possession.
"It is an open investigation and only after thorough interrogation of the accused will the complete sequence of events in the case come to fore," Goyal said, replying to a question about sequence of events which led to Junaid's killing.
"Time limit for this investigation cannot be fixed. Whatever facts we could share have been shared, but in the interest of investigation revealing more facts at this stage will not be appropriate. We will share these facts as and when they become clear," he added.
The fight between the victim and his brothers and the accused in the train started at Okhla railway station in Delhi while the stabbing took place at a station Ballabgarh onwards, he said.
When asked about the facts that have emerged with the arrest of five accused earlier, Goyal said the probe is ongoing.
"The main accused has been arrested yesterday only... I am repeating that it is an open investigation, what was the sequence of events, what exactly led to murder of Junaid, will become known after main accused's interrogation," he said.
Goyal said it was difficult for them to crack the case as thousands of people travel from Delhi to Mathura daily on the local train.
"Different type of methodologies were adopted by the police department and it is culmination of all those continuous efforts by the police. Which technique exactly led to the arrest of this accused, I am not going to reveal, but a lot of aspects of investigation were touched by police..," he said.
He said the main accused will be taken on police remand and during further interrogation, many things will become clear.
When asked where the main accused was hiding, Goyal said, "He spent a few days at his home. He went to Mathura and Vrindavan and later through a relative he worked at some unit in Dhule for a few days."
When asked if anymore accused were yet to be arrested in the case, the SP said, "During the main accused's interrogation this should become clear."
He also said that statement of other arrested accused in the case has been recorded.
Replying to a question, Goyal said the main fight had started between the victim and another man Rameshwar, who was earlier arrested in the case. The SP said the main accused also jumped into the fight, though he did not know Rameshwar.
He said steps were being taken to strengthen security on trains, including having CCTV cameras, for which we have written to the Railway Ministry.
He said the Government Railway Police (GRP) was also trying to have a databank of daily commuters from Faridabad and Palwal.
"Often many things come to fore like some of these daily passengers occupy seats of others, play cards, sit in rail coaches meant for women etc. So, we will try to make them aware..," he said.
Junaid's family seeks death penalty for perpetrators
Meanwhile, Junaid’s father has demanded death penalty for the perpetrators of the crime.
"I appeal the government to announce death penalty for the accused and arrest the remaining involved in this case. Such incidents are happening everyday in every parts of the nation. We are living in fear," Junaid's father Jalaluddin told ANI.
Junaid's mother also demanded capital punishment for the main accused.
"My son was innocent. I lost him as no one came to his help. While exemplary punishment should be given to all accused involved in the case, I demand that the main accused who stabbed Junaid should be hanged," she told reporters at her village in Ballabgarh today.
Junaid's brother Shakir, who was also attacked during the incident said, that the family appreciates the work done by the police to arrest the main accused. A statement released by the GRP yesterday had said that a team was sent to Dhule following a tip-off that the accused was hiding there.
The police had earlier arrested five persons, including a Delhi government employee.
Junaid was stabbed to death while his brothers, Hashim and Sakir, were injured by a mob which also allegedly hurled communal slurs against them.
His brothers had claimed the attackers had taunted and repeatedly called them "anti-nationals" and "beef eaters".
A reward of Rs two lakh had also been announced for information on identity of those involved in the killing.
Junaid was stabbed to death when he, along with his brothers, was returning home to Khandawli village after shopping for Eid in Delhi.
His body was dumped close to Asaoti village in Faridabad district.
(With PTI inputs)