Inderpuri Murder: If police acted on my complaints, my son would be alive today

- August 24, 2023
| By : Ahona Sengupta |

A week after her child's body was found in a bed-box at her Inderpuri house, the bereaved mother says that she had approached the police several times and her 11-year-old boy could have been saved had cops taken her complaints seriously

Photo: Unsplash

August 11 was a regular work day for 32-year-old Neelu, but her world changed as she returned from office to find her son lying lifeless inside a bed-box at her Inderpuri house.

Eleven-year-old Divyansh was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead.

While the police have arrested Pooja Kumari (24), the former girlfriend of the boy’s father Jitendar, from Bakkarwala in west Delhi, and registered a murder case at Inderpuri police station, a chargesheet in the case is yet to be filed.
According to preliminary investigation, Pooja considered the boy ‘a big hindrance’ and committed the crime after she had a feud with Jitendar, who was living with her initially and had allegedly promised to marry her, but moved out of the residence and refused to divorce Neelu.

‘No action on complaints’
Neelu told Patriot that there were several quarrels and a series of threats from Pooja that preceded the incident of crime.
“Earlier this year also, she had threatened me that she would cause harm to me and my child. She did the same even a few months ago,” she said.

SILENCE: A lull in the neighbourhood

Neelu mentioned that she had filed a couple of complaints at the Inderpuri police station, which is around 700 metres from her residence, against Pooja.
“She (Puja) was upset over the fact that Jitendar had recently moved out of the house where they were living together and started staying separately. Even before this happened, she kept threatening me whenever she frequented this area and fought with me,” Neelu said.
“In several instances, she said ‘tum dono ko nahi chhorungi’ (I won’t let you off the hook). I felt scared for my boy and approached the police to file a complaint. While I did file complaints, there was no action taken on them. An FIR was registered. From day one I have been screaming that had the police paid heed to my complaints, my child would have been alive,” she rued, while refusing to divulge details of the FIR.
Addressing Neelu’s allegations on the police regarding non-action on complaints, District Commissioner of Police (West) Vichitra Veer told Patriot, “If such is the case, then I would request her to visit my office and send me all her complaints so that I can look into the matter and coordinate with the local police station.”
The DCP also threw light on the progress of the investigation.
“It’s on track. However, we are yet to file a chargesheet and that will take some time because we need to ascertain a couple of things regarding the case.”
What constitutes an FIR and how is it different from a complaint?
“The fundamental difference between a complaint and an FIR is the nature of the offence. If it is a non-bailable offence, an FIR is mandatorily to be registered by the police. A police officer cannot say no to registration of an FIR of an offence that is deemed to be cognisable and non-bailable by the India Penal Code. The registration of an FIR is done only by a designated police officer who has to be the rank of ASI, SI, but a complaint can be filed by even a constable,” said Delhi High Court advocate Neeleshwar Pavani.
Section 506 of the IPC involves criminal intimidation, which is defined as, “Whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine, or with both.”
It is a bailable offence.

PLAYFIELD: The neighbourhood playground where Divyansh was mostly found after school

In case of a basic complaint, the Supreme Court in its judgment of Lalita Kumar vs State of Uttar Pradesh, had said that the police should conduct an inquiry into complaints before mandatorily registering an FIR, to carry out due diligence of the complaint.
“But that does not happen regularly,” he said.
“In any case, there has to be a preliminary inquiry to ascertain the gravity of the situation,” he added.

Day of crime
Neelu, a working mother, got the first whiff that “something is off” when she received a call from Divyansh’s teacher that he had not turned up for class, which was a “rare case”.
When she reached home, she found the door was locked from outside and upon entering, she saw things strewn everywhere and the child was missing.
“I found the mattress lying uneven and that’s when I checked the bed-box,” she said.
She continued, “Usually, he never used to sleep in the afternoon to evening time, but even if he did, he slept with the AC on, locking the door. He always followed what I taught him, so he never kept the main door open when I was not at home, but that day he did. He was only an 11-year-old boy!
“My neighbour, who lives downstairs, is like my family and took care of him in my absence. But that day she also fell asleep during the same time,” she added.
According to her, Pooja entered the house when her boy was sleeping inside with all doors open.
“The main gate downstairs is generally open, and shut only at night. Pooja knew the structure of our house well because she had come before. So she knew the details,” said Neelu.
Since the crime took place, the young mother is mentally in shambles and right now more concerned about submission of a chargesheet.
“I want the strictest punishment for her because she killed my young boy. I cannot imagine, as a mother, how my child must have suffered and gasped for breath as she strangled her,” she said.

Days after the incident, an eerie normalcy prevailed in the neighbourhood at Inderpuri ‘E’ Block, an otherwise unostentatious colony.
Twenty-seven-year-old Gagan was at his house, which is one after Neelu’s, the whole day on August 11, but “didn’t hear any noise of scream”.
“There is so much noise usually in the colony — of televisions, children playing, and other activities. When we think about it, we feel guilty because maybe if we were more careful, someone could have saved the boy,” he said.

A brilliant boy
Fondly remembering her child, Neelu said that the boy was aspiring to become a sportsperson.
“He was excellent in sports in school. Whatever the game, be it acrobatics, cricket, football or any other form of athletics, he excelled in that at his school. He was always talking about his ambition in sports. He wanted to make a career in sports, but was not sure which one to pursue because he was so small,” said Neelu.

“I was just sort of deciding which sports I should put him in because usually at such a tender age, it’s the parents who guide children. He loved watching videos of gymnastics, so I thought maybe he wanted to become a gymnast. Just days before he was murdered, I was actually looking for centres where I could enroll him for gymnastics training,” she said.
In the words of neighbours, Divyansh was “vivacious”, “obedient”, “welcoming” and “playful”.
“Soon after returning from school, he would play here at the ground. He was always such a happy child, always friendly and proactive. But he was disciplined — everyone could tell. No matter what, he would run back home if his mother called for him. Never once talking back. But yes, recently we saw him less probably because he was asked to stay at home more,” said Mahesh.
Pointing towards his daughter, he added that both of them studied at SKR Government School till last year December when he put his child in another school.
“He was among the top students. He always came to invite our children for his birthday. It’s only during such occasions we saw Jitendar. Otherwise, he used to hardly visit the colony,” he said.

VICTIM’S HOME: The family lives on the second floor. The red gate, now locked from inside, is the entry to the building

“We can’t believe that something so horrific happened to him. While we are careful about our children, asking them not to venture out more, we understand that it’s also a private matter,” said another neighbour.
“Almost everyday he lived alone between the time he returned from school in the afternoon and when Neelu reached home. All of us know how well-trained he was because he never did anything beyond what his mother taught,” she said.
Since the incident took place, Divyansh’s friend Rahul (name-changed) has hardly spoken.
“While we try our best to shield him from police scenes, he obviously understands because even though children of this age are tender, they can still process these things. His friend is missing, and he saw the police and media commotion soon after the murder. So, he can definitely understand,” said Rahul’s father.
Rahul, who was also Divyansh’s classmate, hasn’t gone outside to play since August 12 and has frequently complained of a “strange feeling” and “sense of loss” to his parents.