File photo of Bahujan Samaj Party leader Munawwar Hasan(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Chaudhary Munawwar Hassan and Sahid Khan ‘Bunty’ were partners in a real estate business for years, dealing in property in outer and north Delhi.
But, Bunty wanted more. The 42-year-old Hassan, a local strongman and a Bahujan Samaj Party leader, owned a number of properties he had allegedly snatched from the owners. Bunty was eyeing those.
The opportunity came when Hassan was arrested on charges of rape in January. The BSP leader, who unsuccessfully contested the 2013 assembly election from Badli, had 12 cases, including that of attempt to murder, property grab and kidnapping, against him.
Bunty used the time to win over the trust of Hassan’s wife and four children.
On April 20, he told Hassan’s wife Ishrat, 40, that there was an emergency for which she and her daughters were needed at their family home in Meerut, police said.
He offered to travel with them. But the three women never made it to the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh town.
Ishrat, 19-year-old Arju and 15-year-old Arshi were shot dead and buried in fields along a highway in Uttar Pradesh. The shooters were hired by Bunty, said police, who are yet to find the bodies.
Bunty came back to Delhi immediately and the next day he got Hassan’s sons, 20-year-old Aaquib and 16-year-old Shakib, strangulated, police said.
The bodies were buried in one of disputed properties owned by Hassan close to their home Bhagat Colony home in Burari. The bodies were exhumed on Monday night.
Hassan was released from Tihar jail on May 17 on interim bail. Bunty had helped him in getting Hassan out who was told in the jail that his family had not been seen after April 20.
Hassan knew something was wrong. The next day, he went to police to lodge a missing persons’ complaint. Bunty was with him.
On May 20, it was Bunty who called police to say that Hassan had been killed in his home. His was shot at pointblank range and the body was lying in the bathroom.
“Bunty said he came to meet Hassan and found him dead. But he kept changing his statement,” deputy commissioner of police Jatin Narwal said.
Gaps in his narrative prompted police to put him through sustained questioning.
Bunty cracked. He confessed to plotting the murders and hiring killers to grab disputed properties that Hassan had acquired, a police officer said.
Bunty, two suspected contract killers — Feroz and Zulfiqar — and a friend were arrested on Sunday. Police are investigating if Bunty also carried out the murders.