NEW DELHI: A 34-year-old woman was shot dead in northwest Delhi’s Rohini on Wednesday, after the car she was travelling in with her restaurateur husband and two-year-old son was fired upon by assailants.
The victim, Priya Mehra, was on her way back from a gurudwara when the alleged attack took place on Wednesday , police said. The husband later told the police that the assailants had allegedly been sent by his financer to whom he owed Rs 40 lakh.
Priya’s son, who celebrated his second birthday last week, was in her lap when the assailants opened fire. “As soon as the men opened fire, Priya instinctively hid the child under the car’s seat,” said a police officer. The child received minor injuries from glass shards while Priya’s husband, Pankaj, was unhurt.
Pankaj told police that he and his son survived because the gun used by the assailants jammed .
“Pankaj owns a restaurant cum-bar in Paharganj and a cafe in Hudson Lane,” said Milind Dumbere, DCP (northwest). The DCP added that both the eateries had failed to take-off and have been shut for around two months and Pankaj was being pursued and threatened by his financer, to whom he owed money.
The couple and their son lived in Rohini Sector 15. Pankaj’s family said that he would often sit at another restaurant owned by his brother, Anil, in Hudson Lane till late in the night. His wife and son would later join him at the restaurant for the drive back.
“Pankaj has claimed that the family left Hudson Lane after midnight. They then visited Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in CP, before driving back home in their car,” said the DCP. The car had reached near the Bhalswa flyover, near Rohini Jail, when it was allegedly intercepted by a Maruti Swift around 4.15am.
The DCP quoted Pankaj as saying that an unidentified man, armed with a pistol, came out of the Swift car and threatened to teach him a lesson for “hiding” with the financer’s money.
“Pankaj claimed that he had borrowed money at a high interest rate from a Paharganj-based financer,” the DCP said.
When Pankaj refused to open the door, the attacker allegedly used the pistol butt to break open his window glass and pull Pankaj out. “Pankaj then got into a scuffle with the man and tried to snatch his pistol ,” said the DCP.
This allegedly prompted the attacker to start shooting. “The first bullet cracked the car’s windshield and hit Priya in her face. Priya had pushed her son to safety under the car’s seat by then. Pankaj realised his wife was hit only when a second bullet hit Priya in her neck,” the DCP said.
As the attacker tried to fire more rounds, the pistol jammed. “The man then called to his associates in the car to hand him another gun. Pankaj seized this opportunity and fled in his car. His wife was rushed to a hospital but could not be saved,” Dumbere quoted Pankaj as saying. The police have not given a clean chit to anyone. “Priya’s family has mentioned that the duo had a troubled marriage and had lived separately for a year,” said Dependra Pathak, chief spokesperson of Delhi Police.
Priya’s relatives accused the staff at the hospital of not treating her. “Pankaj said Priya was still breathing when she was brought to the hospital. But the doctors chose to walk away without attending to her. One staffer said they would not touch the body until police arrived,” alleged Pankaj’s sister, Ritu Sharma.
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