The woman has three daughters from her previous marriages. While the eldest is married, the other two – aged 14 and 5 – were present in another room when the murder took place.
The calculated manner in which the woman went about disposing of the body has surprised crime branch officers who recovered the deceased's body on Friday – two months after the crime – from a septic tank in sector 26 of Rohini.
"The accused, Shehnaz (35), had an argument with the deceased, Rakesh Gupta, (29) on the night of October 5 at her Rohini sector 15 residence. She picked up a cricket stump and hit Gupta repeatedly on the head. She then contacted her brothers, Shakeel and Shahid – both living in sector 26 – to dispose of the body," said Sandeep Goel, joint commissioner (crime).
Sources said the body lay at her residence for 24 hours even as she went about cleaning the room and destroying evidence. Shehnaz contacted her brothers in the morning and the body was moved to sector 26 by the three accused on the night of October 6 and disposed of in a nearby tank.
The motive for the crime may not be a failed relationship alone. ``The woman was forced to close the boutique six months ago due to financial trouble. She was desperately seeking financial aid, but Gupta, who was a tailor by profession and earning extra money working as a commission agent, was not able to meet her demands. We are also looking into this angle in our investigations,'' said a senior crime branch officer.
Shehnaz allegedly attacked Rajesh Gupta after an argument. She has been living with Gupta for the past three years after separating from her second husband. She had found a backer, Rayeez, for her boutique. Shehnaz and one of her brothers, Shakeel (27), were arrested on Friday while another brother, Shahid, is absconding.
Providing details of the investigation, additional DCP (crime) P S Kushwah said Shakeel was the first to be questioned after investigators received inputs that he could be behind Gupta's disappearance.
"Shehnaz herself had approached police on October 18 and reported that Gupta was missing since October 5. The local police questioned her but she remained elusive. We questioned Shahid as he had a criminal record," said Kushwah.
During questioning, the official said, Shahid denied any involvement and told police he was not even on good terms with his sister. However, police kept a watch on him. "A source informed us that they were planning to go underground as police had got an idea of their deed," the official said.
The duo were picked up for questioning from near Rithala Metro station when they were planning to flee the capital and were interrogated separately during which they allegedly confessed to murdering Gupta.
"Shehnaz told us that she left her previous husband and had lived-in with Gupta for the past two years. Recently, she'd developed a friendship with one Rayeez to which Gupta objected. She wanted to get rid of Gupta. We are still investigating if the argument and the assault that followed was pre-planned,'' said JCP Goel.