Four days after 20-year-old Anjali Singh was killed in outer Delhi's Kanjhawala as her two-wheeler was hit by a car, families of two of the five accused claimed that "it was an accident" and that "the accused did not know there was a body stuck underneath their vehicle".
"He has never killed a fly all his life. Do you think he is capable of killing someone so brutally?" said the aunt of Deepak Khanna, 26, one of the accused in the case.
Apart from Deepak, four other men who have been arrested in connection to the case have been identified as Amit Khanna, Manoj Mittal, Krishan, and Mithun.
Anjali, who worked at an event company in Delhi, was returning home in the wee hours of Sunday, 1 January, when a grey Baleno car hit her two-wheeler – and dragged her entangled body for at several kilometres.
An FIR has been filed under sections pertaining to rash driving, culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and death by negligence.
Of these, Mittal is a ration dealer and a functionary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Mangolpuri area, Deepak is a driver in Gramin Sewa, while Amit is employed with the State Bank of India (SBI). As per Delhi police, Krishan works with the Spanish Culture Centre in Connaught Place and Mithun is a hairdresser.
'They Went For New Year Celebrations, Didn't Know This Would Happen'
"Yaari dosti mein naya saal manane gaye the... Unhone sapne mein bhi nahi socha tha aisa hoga (They had gone to celebrate the New Year with friends. It wouldn't have occurred to them even in their wildest dreams that something like this will happen)," said Deepak's aunt .
"Both Deepak and Amit are well-behaved, educated people who just went for a New Year party. The music in the car must have been too loud for them to notice the body," she claimed.
She said that Deepak is a class eight dropout, whereas, Amit — who worked at the SBI — has studied till class 12.
When The Quint visited outer Delhi's Krishan Vihar and Mangolpuri, where the five accused live, their immediate families weren't home, and all doors were locked. The accused live approximately two and three km away from the accident site in Sultanpuri.
"They've been living here for over 15 years. We've never heard of him being involved in even a brawl before this incident took place," said a neighbour of 27-year-old accused Mithun. On condition of anonymity, he added, "The family left right after police came to their house and arrested Mithun."
As per the FIR, Deepak was driving the car with Manoj sitting next to him, whereas, Mithun, Krishan, and Amit were in the rear seat when the accident happened.
'Let Us Grieve in Peace': Victim's Family
At around 7 pm on Tuesday, 3 January, Rekha Devi and Prem Singh — Anjali's mother and maternal uncle — returned home to Mangolpuri, not very far from the accident site, after performing Anjali's last rites at the nearby shamshan (crematorium).
"Please let us grieve in peace," said Prem as mediapersons surrounded the family. Earlier during the day, police investigation had revealed that Anjaliwasn't alone at the time of the incident.
"A girl was with her (Anjali) at the time of the accident. She was not injured, and fled from the spot. She is an eyewitness," Delhi Police's Special CP (Law and Order) Sagar Preet Hooda said, in a press conference.
"We do not know this girl (the pillion rider). We have never heard of her," Rekha told The Quint.
Later, in her statement to the media, the pillion rider claimed that she saw Anjali getting stuck under the car but fled from the site because she got scared. "I fell on one side of the scooty (two-wheeler), she fell on the other side. That's when she got stuck under the car. I fled from there and went home because I got scared," she said.