Judge Krishan Kant‘s wife Ritu, who Mahipal had shot twice on her shoulder and stomach, succumbed to her injuries at 11.30pm on Saturday. The condition of his son, Dhruv, shot twice in the head, was stated to be “extremely critical”. Doctors said he was on life support.
After a full day of interrogation, cops made some inroads into the mental state of the 32-year-old PSO. They said he had a “guru” and “guru ma” who appeared to have a big influence on him and who police are now looking for.
But none of this has yet helped them understand what led a man with no history of misconduct or violent behaviour to shoot at a family he was assigned to protect, that too at a busy market in full view of scores of people.
A police team at the spot after the shooting incident on Saturday.
Haryana Police chief B S Sandhu said the motive behind the shooting was still not clear. “We are trying to ascertain the reason behind this ghastly act. Our top priority is to solve the case,” he said.
A medical board conducted an autopsy of Ritu’s body but the last rites were postponed because of Dhruv’s critical condition, police sources said.
On Saturday morning, police received four-day custody of Mahipal from the district court. He was terminated from service and has been charged under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and various sections of the Arms Act.
Police have set up a special investigation team (SIT) under DCP (east) Sulochana Gajraj. They also released a statement denying Mahipal had mental health problems, though a senior cop had alluded to suspected “psychological issues” hours after his arrest on Saturday.
“He had no medical history and he was not under treatment for anything,” Gajraj told TOI, adding he was going through “some domestic tension”. She also said Mahipal, who had been with judge and his family since 2016, had not complained of harassment or ill-treatment.
Investigators are also looking into a cryptic Facebook image he uploaded on Friday, a day before the shooting. It appears to be a note with a message, scribbled in a blue pen, which mentions a ‘Pastor Robin’. Mahipal led investigators to a room near Tau Devi Lal stadium on Saturday from where two paintings and a few pamphlets related to religion were recovered. Police did not disclose their contents.
Mahipal’s ‘guru’ is suspected to be Indraraj Singh. According to a CID official, police had on August 21 raided Sawaria Hotel on Nizampur Road in Narnaul – where Mahipal is from – and detained a CRPF constable and 8 others, including Singh. All of them were released after Mahipal intervened.
On August 11, 2015, Singh had been arrested in Narnaul on charges of luring people for conversion. Sources said Mahipal had come out in support of Singh, and his mother Sarita had expressed her disagreement with that. Even after he moved to Gurugram, source said Mahipal’s links with groups associated with Singh in Narnaul continued.
Mahipal’s neighbours at police lines in Gurugram said they were aware of the “domestic tension” he had – they would often hear his wife Meenu shouting at him.
The generally quiet Mahipal would hardly raise his voice even during these arguments, neighbours said. He mostly lived in a shell, hardly interacted, and kept to himself. Colleagues and neighbours spoke of their shock after learning what he had done because they always had the impression that Mahipal was “a nice man”.
Mahipal and Meenu, who has made some music videos, married around eight years ago. They have two daughters, aged three and seven and students of a private school in Gurugram. “We often heard Mahipal’s wife screaming at him late in the night. We hardly had any communication with them,” said a neighbour who did not wish to be named. Mahipal’s mother also lived with them and she had more interactions with the neighbours.
Mahipal’s father died when he was very young and he was raised by his maternal uncle.
“He has no siblings and his maternal uncle looked after him,” said another neighbour, adding that the uncle had also arranged his marriage and helped him get a police job in 2007. Two policemen stood guard outside Mahipal’s flat on Saturday. “His family left the house soon after the shooting,” said a neighbour.
The medical board of Dr Deepak Mathur, Dr Pawan Chaudhary and Dr Yudhvir Singh that conducted the autopsy on Ritu’s body, said the bullet injury below her right shoulder had proved fatal.
“The bullet ruptured her arteries, leading of excessive bleeding and death,” said the board. Ritu was shot by Mahipal from a distance of one or two feet. There were bruise marks on her body, inflicted by him when he kicked her after she slumped to the ground.