Rohit Shekhar murder case: What we know so far

ND Tiwari with son Rohit Shekhar. (File Photo)

A special investigation team (SIT) of the Crime Branch Wednesday arrested the wife of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister ND Tiwari’s son Rohit Shekhar, who was found dead last week under mysterious circumstances. Shekhar’s death was initially believed to be a case of natural death.

A resident of Defence Colony in Delhi, he was admitted to Max Hospital in Saket on April 16. According to the hospital, they received the emergency call at 04.41 pm and an ambulance ferried Shekhar to the hospital, who was declared "brought dead".

What did Rohit’s autopsy reveal?

Three days after his death, the Delhi Police on April 19, registered a murder case against unknown persons after Rohit's autopsy report revealed that the cause of his death was "unnatural" and lodged an FIR under Section 302 (murder) of Indian Penal Code. The case was then transferred to the Crime Branch.

Police had initially initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of CrPC. However, a panel of three doctors at AIIMS conducted the post-mortem and stated that he died of "asphyxia due to smothering and strangulation". Moreover, forensic experts told police that Shekhar died around 14 hours before he was taken to hospital on Tuesday.

Was there any injury mark?

"The incident came to light at around 4 pm after Shekhar's mother Ujjwala Tiwari, who was admitted at Max hospital, received a call from her house about her son being unwell and bleeding from the nose. A call was made to Max Hospital, Saket, and an ambulance brought Shekhar to the hospital, where he was declared brought dead," a senior police officer had said.

Police said the autopsy was ordered after investigators noticed ligature marks on his neck. On Friday morning, the Special CP (crime) Satish Golcha and senior Crime Branch officers visited Shekhar's house and questioned his step-brother and domestic help.

Rohit’s wife Apoorva Shukla was also questioned and her calls scanned after his mother Ujjwala Sharma hinted at a marital discord between the couple.

Rohit had differences with wife Apoorva Shukla?

On Sunday, April 21, Rohit's mother Ujjwala Sharma claimed there was tension between her son and his wife. According to her, Rohit was friends with an officer, who worked under N D Tiwari, and his wife, and this led to tensions at home. "My elder son, Siddharth, wanted to give a share of his property to their son, and this made Apoorva unhappy. The couple have been serving the family for decades," she alleged.

On Monday, the SIT questioned Apoorva for around 10 hours and also took the domestic help and the official to their office in Prashant Vihar, where both were questioned in separate rooms.

"During questioning, both made similar claims, telling officers that Apoorva made a video call to Rohit around 7.30 pm on April 15 while he was returning from Uttarakhand. The call was picked up by the domestic help and later given to Rohit, who was with others in the car," a senior police officer had told The Indian Express.

Has Apoorva confessed to the crime?

On Wednesday, Additional CP (Crime) Rajiv Ranjan said Apoorva, a lawyer practising in the Supreme Court, has confessed to the crime. Police said they have found concrete evidence against Shukla.

"Apurva has confessed to the crime. It was not pre-planned but there was ample bitterness between the two. They were headed towards a porce. From day one, they had a turbulent and unhappy marriage. That night, they fought over Rohit drinking in the car with the female relative. She then pounced on him and strangled him," Ranjan said.

Following the confession, officers from the special investigation team (SIT) of the Crime Branch arrested Shukla on charges of murder.