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Adhip killers worked in the same IT park

Bangalore/Calcutta, Dec. 30: Bangalore police today cracked the murder of Adhip Lahiri, saying the techie from Calcutta was robbed by two sacked employees of the IT park where he worked, and then smothered to death because he might have identified them.

Raju alias Basavaraj, 23, and Y. Venkatesh, 28, were arrested this morning for allegedly robbing and murdering Adhip in his Matiz — after overpowering him with pepper spray — as he drove home from work on December 21 night.

Raju and Venkatesh lost their jobs as transport supervisor and security guard, respectively, at the ITPL software park for misbehaviour a few weeks ago, the police said.

They got caught because they had used the credit cards they found in Adhip’s wallet to buy designer sunglasses, jeans and choice liquor worth Rs 30,000, police commissioner N. Achyut Rao said.

“Despite a request to block his credit cards, the card companies did not do it. In hindsight, it gave us vital clues as the duo shopped for Ray-Ban and designer jeans in Bangalore.”

The duo also used the victim’s ATM cards to withdraw Rs 70,000 — Rs 10,000 in each of seven withdrawals — from ATMs in Kolar, 70 km away, Rao added.

“We are happy the police caught them. They should get exemplary punishment,” said Adhip’s younger brother Ayan, who has travelled to Bangalore with his parents from their home in Salt Lake.

Raju and Venkatesh had been hovering around ITPL in a borrowed Maruti 800 when they spotted Adhip, 32, climb into his car with his laptop and drive away alone, the commissioner said.

Unaware that he was being followed, Adhip called wife Aparna on his mobile to say he would be home in 20 minutes. Suddenly, the Maruti brushed against his car while overtaking it on a deserted stretch. Signalled to stop, an unsuspecting Adhip parked his car and stepped out, only to be drawn into a quarrel.

The duo attacked him with a can of pepper spray, pushed him into his own car and drove off. The driver held Adhip down with one hand and drove with the other while his accomplice, from the back seat, pinned the techie against the front seat and tied his hands and legs with duct tape.

The struggling victim was robbed of his gold ring, wallet and the Rs 500 in his pocket and forced to reveal his ATM PIN numbers. After the car crossed several police check-points without anyone noticing anything, Adhip managed a cry of help near a level crossing. He was pushed down, gagged with tape and smothered to death.

“They intended to kill him. They were scared he would recognise them as they had worked in the same tech park,” Rao said.

The killers drove around with the body in the boot till they reached the Garudacharpalya lake where they dumped it. But their plans to drive out of town were frustrated by heavy police security that night.

So they abandoned the Matiz near Yeswanthpur, where it was found on Tuesday, and took an auto-rickshaw back to the spot where they had left their Maruti 800. The owner of the car is innocent, the police said.

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