GHAZIABAD: Ten-year-old Samir Khan was blowing soap bubbles in the air when one went into his next-door neighbour’s eyes on June 5. Told by his family to be careful after a complaint, the boy went out to play again. The next time Samir’s family saw him was five days later, on Saturday morning, dead. His decomposed body was dug out of the ground from the neighbour’s house, mouth gagged with a handkerchief and the hands and legs tied.
Police said the Class VI student of Ghaziabad’s Bright Public School had a head injury and had been buried in a four-feet pit dug inside the cardboard-making workshop on the ground floor. The pit had been filled and then covered with cardboard residue to avoid detection.
The owner of the house and the workshop in Ghaziabad’s Shaheed Nagar, 55-year-old Abbas Chaudhary, was arrested and charged with murder. Police said he had admitted to the crime in the face of sustained questioning. Chaudhary’s two sons and daughter-in-law were detained for questioning. One of the soap bubbles that Samir was blowing had gone into the eye of Chaudhary’s nine-year-old grandson. That is what led to the altercation between the two families who have been neighbours for 30 years.
Samir’s father Imran Khan (45), who has a readymade garments workshop, said, “Chaudhary’s wife came shouting to our house and asked us to watch our child (Samir). We did not escalate the matter and quietly advised Samir to be careful.” Samir then went out to play in the neighbourhood but did not return. Late that night, Khan filed a missing person’s complaint at Sahibabad police station. “We had looked for him everywhere,” he said. Not once did they suspect their neighbours. Khan said Chaudhary’s wife even enquired about Samir when he was missing.
Then on June 8 Chaudhary’s family locked their house and suddenly left. That arose suspicion. “They were gone overnight,” Khan said. “We tried calling on the numbers displayed outside their house but all three were switched off.”
Police said the boy was abducted by Chaudhary and his elder son from the main road in Shaheed Nagar, brought back home and killed. They confirmed they had found a head injury on the boy’s body. “We cannot accurately ascertain the cause of death right now without the postmortem report,” said Akhilesh Goud, investigating official at Sahibabad police station.