On the morning of March 24, soldiers at Bengaluru’s Army Service Core (ASC) Centre found a horrifying sight: their colleague, 24-year-old Pankaj Kumar’s burnt body in a garbage dump inside the campus. Reeking and rotting, dogs had already started feasting on his torso.
After preliminary enquiry, service corps officials immediately informed the Viveknagar Police, who arrived on the spot.
Upon investigation, the police suspected two sepoys in the ASC Centre – Dhanaraj (26) and Murali Krishna (32) – to have committed the murder.
“In 2017, Murali Krishna was accused of stealing Pankaj’s identity card. Stealing an ID card of someone in the Army is a serious offense. There was also an internal inquiry into the matter. Murali Krishna was not happy about this. On the night of March 23, Murali Krishna and Pankaj had an argument about it as well,” an officer with the Viveknagar Police Station said.
As Murali was angry with Pankaj, he allegedly enlisted the help of his friend Dhanaraj and decided to kill Pankaj.
Police say that Murali and Dhanaraj allegedly went to Pankaj’s barracks with a knife and a rope at around 10.45 pm on March 23.
While Murali stabbed Pankaj in his sleep, Dhanaraj helped in holding Pankaj down, tying a tope around his neck and choking him to death.
Then, they allegedly took his body to the place where the water tank is and burnt it.
“The body was only half burnt when they feared they would get caught. So, they dumped the body in the garbage disposal area inside the campus,” the police officer added.
Early on March 24, when Pankaj did not appear for his morning duties, his fellow soldiers went looking for him in his barracks.
“They found blood in his room and they realized that something was wrong. That’s when they went looking for him. At around 9.30 am, they found Pankaj’s body in the garbage dumping area inside the campus,” Viveknagar Police Inspector Diwakar M told TNM.
The Viveknagar police were informed of the internal inquiry and soon they took Murali Krishna for questioning. After interrogation, they found that he had enlisted the help of Dhananraj as well.
On March 24, the duo was arrested.
“They have been booked under sections 302 (murder) 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC. Further investigation is on,” said Inspector Diwakar.