Noida (UP), September 9
The Gautam Buddh Nagar police said Wednesday that the killing of a Delhi-based cab driver allegedly by the passengers on a highway in Greater Noida during a journey from Bulandshahr district was a criminal act and not a hate crime.
They also said in a statement that the case was being transferred to Bulandshahr police as the matter related to that district.
Aftab Alam, 45, died in Badalpur area Sunday night allegedly after he was attacked by unidentified people who boarded his cab from Bulandshahr, according to police.
However, Alam's son Mohammed Sabir alleged his father was killed in a hate crime, citing an audio clip of a purported phone conversation with his father Sunday evening.
In the audio clip, one of the cab passengers is heard saying “bol (say) Jai Shri Ram” to someone, with Sabir claiming it was his father who was asked to chant it.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Central Noida, Harish Chander said the incident was a criminal act and did not have any communal angle as was being claimed.
He said a worker at a CNG filling station was asked by one of the passengers to chant the slogan.
"It has emerged during investigation that the cab driver was not asked to chant 'Jai Shri Ram'. It was said to somebody else. We have found that the cab had stopped at a filling station. A worker at the filling station had injuries on his hand. The passengers said something to indicate towards his injury mark. This can be heard in the audio clip as well," Chander said.
“Then the passengers asked the worker how he got injured, to which they were told it was a birthmark. These passengers then offered to give him extra money, which the worker refused. This worker, who belongs to the majority community, was then asked by one of the passengers to chant 'Jai Shri Ram',” he added.
The officer, who was supervising the probe, said the filling station worker confirmed the developments to police and also said that nothing of this sort was asked of the cab driver.
“This clears that the death of the cab driver is an outcome of a criminal act and not related to communal angle,” DCP Chander said.
After nearly three days, police are yet to identify the culprits.
Officials earlier said Alam, who was found injured in his cab on a highway and died at a hospital later, had an argument over fare with the passengers.
An FIR has been lodged at the Badalpur police station for murder, among other offences, and a probe is underway, police said. PTI
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