The two suspected killers of Hindu Samaj Party leader Kamlesh Tiwari were staying in a hotel room barely 1.5 kilometres from his house in Lucknow’s Khursheed Bagh, where he was murdered two days ago, police officials said on Sunday.
The police have found two saffron “kurtas”, which they were wearing at the time of committing the crime, a bloodstained knife — apparently used in the crime — and several other belongings from the hotel room during a search.
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani said the two suspects booked room number G-10 of Khalsa Inn hotel in Lalkuan, which is barely 20 minutes walk from Kamlesh Tiwari’s office-cum-residence in Khursheed Bagh.
Naithani said the two suspects booked the hotel room apparently with their original Aadhaar cards under the names of Sheikh Ashfaq Hussain and Pathan Moinudeen Ahmad, both natives of Surat in Gujarat.
He said they checked in at the hotel room around 11.08 pm on Thursday night.
The hotel’s CCTV footage showed they left the hotel around 10.38am on Friday morning wearing saffron “kurtas” and holding a sweet box, which they used to get entry into Tiwari’s residence. They returned around 1.21pm, after the murder, officials said.
Naithani said they stayed at Tiwari’s residence between noon and 1 pm. He said the duo checked out from the hotel within 16 minutes of their return and apparently left the city immediately.
He said the forensic team had examined the hotel and collected multiple evidences and sealed the room.
The SSP said the forensic team also recovered a towel — also having bloodstains — two bags, jeans, a mobile phone box, shaving kit and a few other items.
“The blood samples have been collected for forensic examination,” he added.
He said the hotel owners, staff and some people in vicinity had been questioned and efforts were on to confirm the route used by the assailants to reach Khursheed Bagh from the hotel.
Director general of police OP Singh had earlier said Tiwari’s murder was a fallout of “communal hate” as he initially ruled out terror link.
Tiwari was murdered inside his house by two unidentified men in Lucknow’s Khursheed Bagh on Friday in the fallout of “communal hate”, according to the police. Tiwari had filed a civil petition in the Supreme Court in 2011 challenging the Allahabad High Court’s decision to trifurcate the disputed site of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
The killers were allegedly known to Tiwari and allowed to meet him by the security guard posted at his residence only after the leader of the Hindu group allowed it.
Five people — all from Surat — were involved in the murder and three of them have been arrested while a search is underway for the two others who executed the killing, the police have said. A special investigation team has been formed to probe the case.
Officials said investigations also revealed that the two suspects were in contact with Tiwari for the last two months through mobile phones and fake social media accounts. They told him that they wanted to join his organisation, said officials on condition of anonymity.
“Other than Kamlesh Tiwari, the two assailants had been in touch with some other office-bearers of the Hindu Samaj Party in Gujarat for last few months, posing themselves as Hindus,” said a senior police official privy to investigation.
A second senior police official privy to the investigation said the forensic experts, who examined the hotel room in which the two suspects stayed in Lucknow’s Lalkuan, suggested that one of them could be injured.
“The experts found bloodstains on kurtas, knife and a white-coloured towel.
They were of the opinion that the bloodstains found on the towel was of one of the two assailants,” he said, adding CCTV captured the suspects near a private hospital in Bareilly district.
After executing the murder, the two immediately left the city and boarded a train from Charbagh railway station to Delhi on Friday afternoon, said police officials.
They said the suspects, however, changed the train in Bareilly. Their last known location was Ambala.
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