How the Hyderabad police cracked a murder that took place 18 years ago

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How the Hyderabad police cracked a murder that took place 18 years ago

The upcoming Lok Sabha elections indirectly provided a break in an 18-year-old murder case for the Hyderabad city police. On Sunday, three people were arrested in connection with the case while one person was said to be absconding.

The case relates to the murder of Mohd Khaja, a butcher hailing from Chandrayangutta. The police said that Khaja, then 30 years old, was killed by his own mother, Masooda Bee, as she was tired of his alcoholism and addiction to gambling.

The police launched an investigation after they tried to check up on Khaja as he was a habitual offender and elections were nearing. Police said he had been untraceable for the past few elections too. When they couldn’t trace him this time too, they realised something was wrong.

While Masooda Bee is absconding, the other accused, identified as Khaja’s brothers-in-law Rasheed and Basheer, both aged 48, and his friend Syed Hasham, an auto driver, have been arrested. The arrests were carried out by the Commissioner’s Task Force, South Zone Team, Hyderabad with the assistance of Cyberabad’s Mailardevpally Police.

“The accused Masooda Bee was married to Mohammad Saab around 50 years ago. The couple was blessed with three sons and five daughters. About 30 years ago, Mohammad Saab died. After the demise of her husband, Masooda Bee performed marriages of all her children. All her children, except her second son Mohd Khaja, were settled (sic),” a press note stated.

The motive

The investigation officials said that Masooda claimed that Khaja had become a ‘burden’ to her as he was addicted to drinking and playing cards.

“Even after becoming a major, he depended upon his mother for his expenses and harassed other family members. His activities became unbearable to the family members, especially to his mother. He started attacking his mother physically and when his mother failed to give him money, sold household articles in the house to meet his personal expenses,” the police said.

“To cope with his expenses, he started inviting his friends and others to his house to play cards and turned his house into a gambling den. These acts of Khaja irritated other family members, that is his sisters and brothers-in-law who all used to reside under one roof as a joint family at Hashamabad. Added to this, he had disputes with his wife as well,” officials said.

The crime

Unable to bear his alleged harassment, the police said that Khaja’s family members even moved to a new place, but he continued visiting them and demanding money. Following this, the family allegedly planned his murder.

The police said that Masooda came up with the idea and discussed it with Khaja’s brothers-in-law, after which the trio approached his friend Syed Hasham to assist them. Hasham agreed to help out and was even given some amount to carry out the murder, officials said.

On the evening of June 4, 2001, the police said Hasham, Rasheed and Basheer invited Khaja to drink toddy near a shop at Bandlaguda in Hasham’s auto.

“After consuming toddy, all four of them left towards Shastripuram, which was an isolated and under-developed area, in the same auto. They travelled till sunset and got down from the auto near a grape garden on the pretext of attending nature’s call and went into some bushes on the side of the road. Later, as per their plan, the three accused struck Khaja on the forehead with a granite boulder and killed him,” the police said.

Following this, Masooda gave an amount to Hasham as promised and began telling everyone that Khaja had cut ties with the family and left the city, the police said.

The investigation

Khaja’s body was later found by the owner of the grape garden and it was reported as the death of an unidentified person. A case was registered under Section 302 (Murder) of the IPC at Rajendranagar police station and an investigation was launched.

The case was later referred as undetected, as the identity of the deceased and accused persons was not found, the police said.

Speaking to TNM, Task Force Inspector Madhu Mohan Reddy, said, “Since Khaja was a habitual offender and elections were nearing, we tried to check up on him. When we couldn’t trace him, that was our first clue that something was amiss.”

“Later, when we questioned the family, we got different versions of events from his mother, his sister and other members, which led us to believe that he may have been murdered,” he added.

Following this, the family members were held and questioned.

“The accused later confessed to killing the deceased and identified the location of the crime scene,” the police said.