Some of the most sensational crimes of the year

By Sahil Makkar, IANS,

New Delhi : The alleged rape and murder of two women in Shopian in Kashmir, the kidnap and murder of a call centre employee in Delhi, the gang rape of a management student in Noida, the mysterious death of a Muthoot house scion in Kerala, and actor Shiney Ahuja’s arrest for allegedly raping his maid were some of the sensational crimes that hogged newspaper headlines in 2009.

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Following is a list of some of the major crimes of the year:

The deaths on May 30 of Neelofar Jan, 22, and her sister-in-law Asiya Jan, 17, in Shopian town of Jammu and Kashmir state continues to hog the limelight. The deaths led to a massive furore in Kashmir Valley with allegations that the women were first raped and then murdered, with some pointing fingers at the security forces. The CBI in its Dec 14 report to the state high court ruled out rape and murder and said the women died due to accidental drowning in a stream.

The kidnap and murder of call centre employee, Jigisha Ghosh, 28, outside her south Delhi house on March 17 this year rocked the national capital. Jigisha was speaking on the phone and walking towards her apartment after being dropped by a cab hired by her office, Hewitt Associates, around 4.30 a.m. when she was pulled into a car by some men. Police say the killers made her give them her bank debit card secret identification number and withdrew Rs.20,000 from an ATM. They killed her and dumped the body near Bhatkal Lake in Faridabad and then went on a shopping spree with her credit cards. Four men were arrested.

The Aug 21 murder of Muthoot house scion Paul M. George, 32, shocked Kerala and grabbed national headlines. George, a bachelor, was travelling in a car at night with two men who have several criminal cases against them. His body was found in Alapuzha. Questions were raised about what George was doing with two known bad elements. Police have arrested 19 people on charges of involvement in the murder while his father, M.G. George Muthoot, has asked for a CBI probe.

The gangrape of a 24-year-old MBA student in the vicinity of the capital Jan 6 was among the most sensational crimes. The girl, a resident of south Delhi, was with her male friend inside a car parked near the Noida Expressway when a group of 10 youths, back from playing a cricket match, dragged her out of the car. They took turns to rape her. According to police, the rape was in celebration of their cricket victory. The youths were arrested.

Another case that hogged the limelight was the alleged staged shooting by police of 24-year-old MBA student Ranbir Singh in Dehradun July 3. He was allegedly shot at point-blank range 30 times by Dehradun police. The CBI said police personnel first beat up Singh in the lockup and then drove him to the Ladpur jungles near Dehradun where they fired 30 shots at him from close range.

Goa was very much in the news in 2009. A 25-year-old Russian woman was allegedly raped by a Goa politician. The woman, who was employed as a Russian liaison representative in a five-star resort in Goa was having dinner with a woman friend on Dec 1 night when she was offered a lift by John Fernandes. She alleged Fernandes raped her in the car. The politician will have to surrender before the Goa trial court as the Supreme Court on

Friday told him that he deserved no relief in the form of pre-arrest bail.

The coastal state was in the news in October too when 10 bodies, including that of seven young women, were found in a span of three days. The killings were the handiwork of two groups – a scrap dealers gang and two local goons, who along with women accomplices, would rob and kill their victims.

In another shocking crime, Orissa cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Jagadananda Panda killed four members of his family ‘one by one’, firing at them from his service revolver before turning the gun on himself in his home in Deogaon in Bargrah district. The incident took place in July. Panda was a 1983-batch IAS officer and had worked in several important positions in the Orissa bureaucracy before he left for Delhi on a central deputation in 2006.

The crime scene did not spare Bollywood. Actor Shiney Ahuja was arrested in June for allegedly raping his domestic help. Shiney has reportedly told the court it was not rape but consensual sex. He was in the lock-up for nearly four months and denied bail on at least two occasions. He had come to Delhi to his parent’s home. He is at present out on bail and back in Mumbai.

In Haryana, a young woman, Alka, consumed poison along with her husband outside the office of the Rohtak range inspector general of police, alleging she was raped by five men and the police were not taking any action. Alka died in a hospital in Rohtak while her husband, Sunil, survived. She allegedly took the extreme step after she failed to meet the IGP.

(Sahil Makkar can be contacted at [email protected])