Alam’s son, who recorded the last call his father made to him from the cab, alleged he was killed by the three passengers, one of whom was heard on the phone demanding to hear ‘Jai Shri Ram’. While Sabir said it seemed they had targeted his father, police claimed it wasn’t Alam but the owner of a roadside stall – where the cab had halted –whom the passengers asked to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Alam, police said, was possibly killed during an argument over fare.
Alam, who was from Trilokpuri in Delhi, was returning after dropping off a passenger in Bulandshahr when he picked up the three men. The trio was allegedly drinking in the car and started a discussion with Alam on religion. Alam felt insecure and dialled his son. The call, according to Sabir, revealed that the three passengers wanted Alam to drink with them, and when he refused, they asked him to chant the slogan. The call got disconnected a few minutes later and Alam’s phone was found to be switched off after that. Almost three and a half hours later, at 11.30pm, a police team tracked down Alam’s car, a Swift Dzire, near Mohan Swarup hospital in Dadri.
Sabir (35) said he received the first call from his father around 7pm, when he asked him to get his FASTag recharged. Alam was about to reach the Luharli toll plaza then. Sabir received the second call at 7.57pm. “This time, my father was not speaking. But I could clearly hear some people talking about religion in the background. They were asking my father to drink with them, but he refused,” Sabir said. Sabir, an MCom student, said his father’s feeble voice in the cab suggested he was scared. “I switched on the call recording on my phone,” Sabir said.
According to him, the trio kept targeting a particular community while talking to his father. “Seven minutes into the conversation, I could hear the car coming to a halt and the banging of doors. They were asking each other to contribute Rs 20 for the fare. In the middle of all this, one of them asked somebody, most probably my father, to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. The other two were trying to stop him, but he continued,” Sabir said.
After a few seconds, the call got disconnected. Sabir tried calling back, but Alam’s phone was switched off. Alam carried a second phone and that number too was switched off. “I went to Mayur Vihar police station and told the cops there what I had heard on the phone. A policeman traced the number and told me my father’s phone was switched off near Chitera village in Dadri,” Sabir said. Police in Mayur Vihar alerted police. When cops found him, Alam was still breathing. He had injury marks on the head and neck. His phones and cash were missing. Alam’s family believes he was dragged out of the car and thrashed. “There were no blood stains on the seats. They beat him up and then put him in the back seat,” his son said.
Harish Chander, deputy commissioner of police (central Noida), said Alam seemed to have been attacked with a blunt object. “They hit him following an argument over fare. He was attacked with a sharp object, possibly the pointed end of a key,” he added. Asked about the call recording and the religious slogan, Chander said they were speaking to the owner of the roadside stall where they had stopped for a snack. “The driver was never asked to chant any slogan. The nature of their discussion was friendly,” Chander added.
Police said Alam’s car had been captured on CCTV cameras at the Luharli toll plaza. “The three passengers can be seen in footage. Efforts are on to identify them,” Chander said. An FIR has been registered against unknown persons following a complaint by Alam’s family under sections 394 (causing hurt while committing robbery), 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of the IPC. Alam would normally drive for aggregators but the last passengers he picked up was not from a booking that came via these platforms.
Watch Delhi cabbie killed after three drunk passengers attacked him with a key