Pati, patni aur woh: Why Apoorva Shukla murdered husband Rohit Shekhar
The mystery over the murder of Rohit Shekhar, son of late Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand chief minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari, is solved. Within a matter of days, the Delhi Police Crime Branch solved the sensational crime, arresting Rohit's wife Apoorva for the killing. The police suspected Apoorva was the murderer from Day One. But, what they could not figure out was why she would kill her husband. Now, even that mystery has been solved. Turns out, it was a case of pati, patni aur voh (husband, wife, and the other).
ROHIT'S LONG FIGHT
Rohit Shekhar became a national figure because of his long struggle to be recognised as ND Tiwari's son. Rohit was born out of wedlock and for years, ND Tiwari, a veteran Congress politician, denied his existence.
However in 2014, after a court ordered a DNA test to identify Rohit's parentage, Tiwari accepted that Rohit was indeed his son. Later, ND Tiwari even married Rohit's mother Ujjwala, ending the mother-son's years-long struggle to be recognised.
WHEN ROHIT MET APOORVA
A few years later, Ujjwala started hunting for a wife for her son. In 2017, Rohit came across a woman's profile on a matrimonial website. The woman was Apoorva Shukla. Rohit was interested and even showed Apoorva's profile to his mother. He then decided to meet her.
Apoorva and Rohit met for the first time in Lucknow. The two instantly hit it off and quickly became friends. Rohit really liked Apoorva and the two soon started living together.
Rohit and Apoorva continued in a live-in relationship for around a year. Finally, on May 12, 2018 the two got married at a Delhi five-star. The wedding was attended by the who's who of Delhi, including top politicians and bureaucrats.
Mother Ujjwala was over the moon with Rohit's marriage to Apoorva. Rohit and Apoorva were also incredibly excited to begin their married life. After the wedding, Apoorva moved into Rohit's posh Defence Colony home in New Delhi.
The marital bliss did not last long. Rohit Shekhar and Apoorva's honeymoon ended pretty quickly when she found out about a woman friend of Rohit's.
The friend was a distant relative of Rohit's and he used to visit her pretty frequently. Apoorva found out about the woman within a year of her marriage to Rohit. Rohit's closeness was difficult for Apoorva to swallow and this led to friction between the husband and wife.
Rohit and Apoorva's frayed relationship was strained further after he refused her demand to get a house constructed for her family.
Apoorva repeatedly asked Rohit to get a home constructed for her family. However, Rohit repeatedly ignored her demands, leading to frequent fights between the couple.
NEARING THE END
It was increasingly becoming clearer to Rohit and Apoorva that their marriage would not last long. The two began discussing whether they should get a divorce. They put off the decision until June this year.
Meawhile, in March this year, Rohit and Apoorva had a huge fight, following which she returned to her parents' home. Apoorva stayed with her parents from March 3 to March 29, returning to Rohit's Defence Colony home only on March 30.
THE VIDEO CALL
On April 11, Rohit and his mother Ujjwala went to Uttarakhand to cast votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Rohit's relative-friend accompanied the mother and son. But, Apoorva, who stayed back in Delhi, had no clue about that.
The unsuspecting Apoorva video called Rohit over WhatsApp while he was in Uttarakhand. And she saw Rohit's woman friend. Rohit was drinking with the woman and had apparently mistakenly answered Aproova's call in a drunken state.
The sight of Rohit and his friend sent the shocked and disappointed Apoorva into a fit of rage.
ROHIT'S RETURN AND THE DINNER
Rohit Shekhar returned to Delhi on Monday, April 15. Apoorva, Rohit's elder brother Siddarth Sharma, servants Martha and Golu, and driver Akhilesh were at the Defence Colony home that night.
Around 10pm, Rohit's mother Ujjwala, who has a government home in Tilak Lane, came to the Defence Colony home for dinner. Initially, Ujjwala did not see Rohit; Apoorva told her that her son was in the bedroom, sleeping.
Soon, Rohit came out. He had dinner with his mother. According to Ujjwala's statement to the police, Rohit appeared fine and seemed only a little drunk. After dinner, Rohit dropped his mother to her car and she returned to her Tilak Nagar home.
ROHIT'S MYSTERIOUS DEATH
Next day, Ujjwala returned to Rohit's Defence Colony home. This was at around 2pm on Tuesday. Apoorva met her mother-in-law and told her that Rohit was yet to wake up.
Ujjwala then took Rohit's driver Akhilesh and headed to Max Hospital in Saket, where she had a doctor's appointment. She had just reached the hospital, when she got a call from Rohit's home informing Ujjwala that her son's health had taken a turn for the worse.
She immediately got Max Hospital to send an ambulance to her son's home. She travelled in the ambulance to Rohit's Defence Colony home, where she saw Apoorva trying to move her husband's listless body into a car.
Rohit was then transferred to the ambulance and taken to Max Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.
SHOCK, THEN HORROR
Rohit's untimely death left his family in shock. However, the family members believed that Rohit had died a natural death. So did the media, which did not pay much attention to the death of ND Tiwari's son apart from reporting the basics.
However, the post-morterm report, which was released a few days later on April 19, turned the case on its head. According to the report, Rohit died due to asphyxia induced by smothering and strangulation. Doctors also found marks around Rohit's neck.
The Delhi Police immediately registered a case of murder and transferred the case to the Crime Branch.
READ | Who is Apoorva Shukla?
APOORVA'S CHANGING STATEMENTS
After visiting and examining the murder location, the police was confident that the murderer was someone from among those living at Rohit's Defence Colony home. And so, Apoorva and all the other servants were called in for questioning.
Investigators soon found out that on the night of Rohit's death, Apoorva and her husband had a huge fight. The fight happened after the April 15 dinner with Rohit's mom Ujjwala. Rohit was said to be drunk at the time of the fight.
However, Apoorva denied she had fought with Rohit. She said her husband was in his bedroom all along and she had no interaction with him. But, Apoorva kept changing the details of what happened that night and the investigators became increasingly suspicious.
Apoorva's changing statements put her firmly on the Crime Branch sleuths' radars. They got her to give DNA samples in the form of nails and hair. The samples were sent for testing and matched evidence recovered from Rohit's body and bedroom.
When the Crime Branch approached Apoorva with proof of the DNA test, she confessed to her crime.
Apoorva told the police that she did have a huge fight with Rohit on the night of his death. Rohit and Apoorva's long-simmering differences over his woman friend and property came to the fore during the fight, which got physical pretty quickly.
Apoorva told the police that Rohit beat her but since he was drunk, she was able to overpower her husband. She strangulated him and snuffed out his life with her bare hands.
After the murder, committed in a fit of rage, Apoorva -- a Supreme Court lawyer by profession -- began cleaning up the scene in the hopes of getting away with the crime. That, however, was not to be.