The body of a 27-year-old law student, who had been missing for almost a week, was found buried inside the basement of his ex-landlord’s house in Ghaziabad Monday. The victim, Pankaj Kumar Singh, had briefly rented the first floor at the residence of Munna Yadav in Sahibabad’s Girdhar Enclave last month. He moved out earlier this month, and went missing soon afterwards.
His family had registered a missing persons complaint at Sahibabad police station Saturday, after his disappearance on October 8.“We started investigating the area where he was last spotted. We found that his previous landlord and his family had left home the day after the complaint was filed, which seemed suspicious. We scanned the house and found fresh plaster in the basement. We dug it up and Singh’s body was inside,” said Maneesh Mishra, SP City Ghaziabad, and added that the motive is unclear so far.
According to police, officers found it odd that while every other room seemed to have no new construction or repairs, just one patch of the basement had a fresh coat of plaster. A small stick was used and it penetrated the surface. Other teams were called and the area was dug up. After digging almost six feet, the body was found in a semi-decomposed state.
Pankaj, a fourth-year law student from IME Ghaziabad, had shifted to the first floor of Yadav’s four-storey residence a month ago. Yadav lived with his wife Sulekha and four children on the second floor. According to police, Pankaj stayed for 15 days but shifted to another accommodation in Girdhar Enclave.
Hailing from UP’s Balia, Pankaj also ran a cyber cafe in the colony. He had opened it in February and soon shifted to a bigger space in the same colony, where he paid approximately Rs 7,000 as shop rent.
His family alleged he disappeared on October 8. “He would teach Munna’s children, and after some time, Munna insisted that he stay with them on the same floor, to which he objected. Perhaps an argument took place and he shifted to another place,” claimed Manish, Pankaj’s brother.
Two days after Dussehra, Pankaj was neither seen in the colony nor at the cyber cafe. On Saturday, after Pankaj’s parents filed the missing persons complaint, Munna allegedly approached one of the tenants and inquired about him. “On Saturday night, both Munna and his wife came to me and asked what had happened to Pankaj. I told them everyone was worried since he was missing. They didn’t say anything; the next morning, the entire family left. Munna claimed he had some work in his hometown in Bihar and that they had to rush,” said the tenant.
SP Mishra said: “We are awaiting the post-mortem report. No wounds are present to indicate a gunshot or stabbing. It appears there must have been a personal reason behind the murder. We are looking for the landlord.”