Indian police say they have foiled a plot by a man who tried to fake his own death to avoid being returned to jail.
Officers in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh say Sudesh Kumar, 36, murdered a man and tried to pass the body off as his own with the aid of his wife. But police found CCTV footage of him carrying the body on a bike.
Kumar was reportedly released on parole during the Covid-19 pandemic after being charged with the murder of his 13-year-old daughter in 2018.
Some Indian states have paroled some detainees in an attempt to prevent overcrowded prisons being overwhelmed by coronavirus cases.
But Kumar had reportedly become convinced that authorities intended to end his period of parole and hatched the plan to avoid his re-incarceration.
Police allege that Kumar confessed upon his arrest to killing Domen Ravidas on 19 November. Mr Ravidas was a mason of similar height and weight to Kumar, who had hired the contractor to conduct some repair work on his home.
Mr Ravidas’ body was discovered in a vacant plot the following day. His remains were burned beyond recognition, but he was carrying Kumar’s ID card in his pocket.
Kumar’s wife, Anupama, later identified the body as her husband’s at their home in the Indian capital of Delhi.
However, after establishing that Kumar had faked his death, officers received a tip-off that he intended to visit his wife. Police raided the couple’s home and apprehended Kumar, who confessed to the crime.
His wife has also been arrested for her part in the plot.
Iraj Raja, a superintendent with the regional police, praised the work of his officers during a press conference on Sunday.
“The couple hatched an elaborate plot, but police managed to crack this blind murder case,” Mr Raja said. “This team will be awarded for its work,” he added.