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Major Nikhil Handa stabbed Shailza Dwivedi after argument with wife on phone: Police

Accused has been sent to 4 days’ police custody; police to take Handa to Meerut to recover the weapon used in the crime and the clothes he was wearing at that time

SNS | New Delhi |

Army Major Nikhil Rai Handa, arrested in Shailza Dwivedi murder case, allegedly stabbed the latter following a heated argument with his wife for around 10 minutes. According to the police, Major Nikhil Handa stabbed Shailza soon after he hung up on his wife.

A Delhi court sent Handa to four-day police custody on Monday.

The accused Army officer was produced in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Manisha Tripathy amid tight security. The police had sought Handa’s custody saying he had to be taken to Meerut in Uttar Pradesh to recover the weapon used in the crime and the clothes he was wearing at that time.

Major Handa had allegedly fled to Meerut after committing the crime and was arrested from the UP town on Sunday. He allegedly killed Shailza, wife of fellow officer Major Amit Dwivedi, in West Delhi on Saturday. The victim’s body was found with her throat slit near the Brar Square in the Delhi Cantonment area.

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The accused had allegedly run his car over her face and the body to make the incident look like an accident.

Shailza Dwivedi had a problem in her ankle and had been going to the Army Base Hospital for treatment. On Saturday too, she was dropped there in her husband’s official vehicle by a driver, who could not find her when he returned later to pick her up.

Major Handa allegedly met Shailza at the hospital and the two roamed in Delhi Cantonment area in Handa’s car for two hours before she was murdered and dumped on the road.

According to a report in The Hindu, Major Handa had got out of the car to make a call to his wife. When he came back and got inside the car, he was still talking on the phone and put it on the speaker mode. Handa was reportedly having an argument with his wife. The report said the telephonic conversation lasted for around 10 minutes during which Shailza remained silent. However, as soon as the conversation ended, the two had an argument and Handa stabbed Shailza with a knife, slitting her throat.

“He was trying to convince Shailza that he hated his wife and wanted to be with her. It seems that he was obsessed with Shailza. After she was stabbed on the neck, she tried to run out of the car but collapsed near the front bumper of the vehicle. Major Handa, however, did not come out of his car and ran over her instead,” a police officer was quoted as saying in the report.

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Handa lived with his family in Saket, and headed home after committing the crime. On the way, he allegedly smashed Shailza’s mobile phone using a brick and dumped it in a garbage bin. The police said the mobile phone had been recovered.

According to police sources, he later fled to Meerut so he could surrender before the Army there. Handa had served in Meerut for three years. The police claimed he knew people there and hoped for an internal probe into the case.

Quoting DCP (West) Vijay Kumar, The Hindu report said a Swiss knife recovered from Handa’s car had bloodstains on it and it had been sent to the forensic lab for examination.

It is, however, suspected that Handa was carrying another knife which he used in the crime.

Handa also told the police that he had burnt his bloodstained clothes near the same garbage bin, but the police found no traces of burnt clothes from the spot.

READ | Police arrest Army Major from Meerut for murder of officer’s wife

Kumar said Handa used to carry two mobile phones and had switched off one after the crime. He was reportedly using WhatsApp on the other phone to stay in touch with his family members. Handa had, however, deleted the WhatsApp application and its backup data by the time police reached him.

The police said a CCTV camera at a toll plaza near Meerut had captured his Honda City car. Following this lead, they traced the car to Meerut where it was parked outside the Army mess. A trap was laid and Handa was arrested soon.

According to reports, Handa had also met a lawyer hours after the crime.

Handa had known Shailza since 2015, after meeting her first on a social networking site. He was posted in Srinagar at that time. In 2017, Handa and Shailza’s husband Major Amit Dwivedi were posted together in Dimapur, Nagaland, and their friendship grew.

Investigation into the murder case has also revealed that Handa had allegedly made a fake profile on the social networking site to befriend women, and it was through this account that he met Shailza in 2015.

The Indian Express reported that when the police scanned the two phones belonging to the accused it found he had two separate accounts on the social networking site. While the “real” one mentions he is an Army officer, in the other one he reportedly claims to be a Delhi-based businessman.

(With agency inputs)