A 42-year-old man allegedly shot dead a couple with his countrymade weapon at New Shanti Nagar near NH-24 in Ghaziabad on Sunday afternoon. The accused, a neighbour, was infuriated with the couple for spreading a quilt over a common boundary wall, for drying it, the police said.
The police arrested accused Manoj Gupta, a neighbour of couple Balbir Gautam, 48, and Mamtesh Gautam, 44, who stayed at Shanti Nagar behind the highrises of Crossings Republik. The incident took place around 2pm when Gupta allegedly tore off the quilt that was lying on the common boundary wall of the two houses.
“Before the incident, there was an altercation as Manoj objected to drying of the quilt on the wall. He later tore apart the quilt and the couple objected to it. After some time, Manoj shot the man, who had come to his house to complain. He then ran up to the roof and shot the woman,” Rahul Kumar, who stays in the neighbourhood, said.
After the incident, Manoj returned to his house where he stayed for 10-15 minutes, during which the police arrested him.
Sources said that the couple also had a previous altercation with Manoj around two months ago, in which Manoj had sustained a head injury. It was later sorted out through negotiations. The couple is survived by two sons, Neetu, 22, and Mintu, 17.
Following his arrest, the police brought Manoj to Vijay Nagar police station for questioning.
“The accused had objected to drying up of the quilt over the boundary wall of the roof. He later cut the quilt in anger with a pair of scissors. The police also seized the illegal weapon. Balbir was shot in the head while the woman was shot in the chest area. Both were declared dead at the hospital,” Rajesh Kumar, officiating superintendent of police (city), said.
Balbir is a former railways employee, who was suspended from service. Mamtesh was a homemaker. The police said that the accused had purchased the countrymade pistol from a customer who had come to his shop around one-and-half-year ago.
He chased their sons with pistol in hand.
The accused, Manoj, is from Jhansi. He migrated to Ghaziabad around 15 years ago and constructed a house at New Shanti Nagar. He did not marry and hardly spoke to any of his neighbours, sources said. Locals said that he mostly stayed indoors and had altercations only with the couple and not with anyone else in the locality.
“The accused got so infuriated with the family that even after shooting the husband and wife, he searched for their two sons with the pistol in his hand. One of the two sons was on the terrace when Manoj shot his mother. The young man later jumped from the roof and ran away to save himself. The accused further went to a nearby playground to search for the other son but could not find him,” a police source attached to the investigation said.
Manoj operated a sweets stall near the crossing adjacent to Vijay Nagar police station. He had moved to Ghaziabad in search of a job.
“He admitted that he killed the couple and showed no remorse. He said that he was so frustrated with the couple that he would have killed their sons too. They fought regularly over trivial issues such as disposing of garbage,” Neeraj Kumar Singh, station house officer, Vijay Nagar police station, said.