LAHORE: Lahore police claimed on Saturday to have arrested three suspects involved in the murder of an Ahmadi professor and the Marian Chowk robbery, the video of which went viral on social media a few months ago.
On Saturday, the Anti-Organised Crime Cell (CIA) presented 13 wanted men before the media. Four of them were said to be involved in the notorious robbery at a traffic signal in Faisal Town and three behind the robbery-cum-murder of Tahira Perveen, a retired PU professor.
At a press conference at his office, Criminal Investigation Agency SP Tariq Mastoi said the police found no evidence suggesting the murder of Prof Tahira was a religiously motivated murder contrary to media reports. “It is purely a murder-cum-robbery case,” he proclaimed.
CIA police arrested Sajjad Ali, Hammad Aslam and Sunil Masih for the murder within 24 hours and also recovered the mobile phone and $100 stolen from the victim’s room, he said.
The prime suspect Sajjad worked as an electrician at PU. He would often visit the slain professor’s house and built a relationship of trust with her. The suspect had to pay a loan of Rs300,000 as he had bought some appliances on instalments.
Last Tuesday, he went to Tahira’s house, stabbed her with a cutter and took away her mobile phone and $100 dollars before locking the room from the outside. “He planned to take away other valuables at night but did not know the victim’s daughter remained in constant contact with her,” SP Tariq explained.
When the woman could not get in touch with her mother, she informed her acquaintances and then the university administration. The suspects went to a shop to sell the snatched mobile when they saw the news flash of the murder on media.
“Police could not find any link or evidence suggesting the murder was religiously motivated,” the police official concluded.
Faisal Town robbery
Ten other suspects arrested allegedly belong to the Tahir Imran alias Mithu gang and were said to have been to jail many times.
Four of them were accused of the notorious robbery at a traffic signal in Faisal Town. The video of three men looting a family on a traffic signal had gone viral on social media in November 2016, attracting criticism that Lahore was no more a safe city as people were being robbed in broad daylight.
SP Tariq said the gang members were involved in 31 robbery cases registered with Hanjarwal, Iqbal Town, Muslim Town, Wahdat Colony, Faisal Town and Garden Town police.
He said police started investigation by collecting the CCTV footage, gathering information about relatives of the suspects identified in the videos and arrested the suspects through their informers.
“The men would form a group of two to three and chase a target to a signal. They used to rob the citizens and sell the valuables in other cities,” he added.
Of the five suspects identified in the case, four are in custody while one named Shah Rukh has fled to Dubai. Lahore police have got him arrested through Interpol as well and are acquiring red warrants to bring him back.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2017.