The murder of an NDMC legal officer in Jamia Nagar took a murkier turn on Tuesday with the victim’s family alleging that he was killed for refusing to take a bribe from the owners of a prominent hotel in Delhi’s Connaught Place.
M.M. Khan, one of New Delhi Municipal Council’s five estate officers under Public Premises Eviction Act, 1971, was shot dead by two scooty-borne men while he was parking his car at his home in Jamia Nagar around 7.30 p.m. on Monday.
A day later, allegations abound of how Khan, 58, had been receiving death threats for turning down a bribe of Rs.4 crore for delaying a decision on the eviction of the hotel. Since the NDMC had recently won the case against the hotel in High Court, the decision to order the eviction lay with Mr. Khan.
According to senior NDMC officers who claimed to know about the case, its lease had expired over a year ago. There was a recovery of more than Rs.300 crore of dues to be made from the hotel, but that was not happening, because of which the hotel was to be evicted, they alleged.
Two of Khan’s colleagues, under condition of anonymity, told The Hindu that the law officer had mentioned to them about being pressurised by a Delhi-based politician to not pass the eviction order. “He (Khan) had been mentioning about the threats and pressure on a daily basis for the last two weeks. He was being told to take Rs.3-4 crore as bribe and go soft on the case,” alleged Khan’s wife Nishad.
“He told me that he was also being followed over the last two weeks. Though he was tense, he would try to laugh it off,” Nishad alleged.
Khan’s daughter Iqra, a medical student, said, “My father never took a single rupee as bribe in his entire career and he did not towards the end of it either,” said Iqra.
She alleged it was the hotel owner who made the bribe offer and the threat calls. “The first offer was for Rs. 1 crore. It went up to Rs. 4 crore,” alleged Iqra.
She said she would shoulder her family’s responsibility in the absence of her father, but would fight tooth and nail to ensure justice for him. The family said that Mr. Khan had sought not to approach the police with a complaint in this connection.
His neighbours recalled Khan mentioning about the threats. “He would laugh and say the hotel owners think they can get him to do wrong by showering him with money,” said neighbour Rehman.
Senior police officers said the investigation was in an early stage to comment on the allegations against the hotel.
“We are probing all angles. We have many clues and will work out the case soon,” said Mandeep Singh Randhawa, DCP (South-East).
Investigators said the killers came across as professionals who knew the area where they murdered Mr. Khan. The killers have been captured while fleeing by at least four CCTV cameras, but the police are yet to establish their identity.
Khan was one of NDMC’s five estate officers under Public Premises Eviction Act, 1971