Mona Yadav went missing in 2021. Surendra Rana was arrested for her murder yesterday
A Delhi Police head constable was arrested yesterday for the murder of his former colleague, two years after he allegedly choked her to death and threw her body in a canal. Behind the arrest of Surendra Rana (42) was a long wait and relentless pursuit of justice by the victim Mona Yadav's family.
Recounting the harrowing journey to find the truth about her missing sister and the struggle to get her justice, Mona's elder sister broke down several times in the office of a senior police officer. As she spoke of a family's dreams for its daughter and how they turned to ashes, those present in the office, including some journalists, were left speechless. She fainted several times as she spoke.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, said they were from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh. "We were three sisters. Mona was the youngest. Our father worked as a sub-inspector with UP police. In 2011, he died of a bullet injury," she said.
Mona, she said, was an ace student. "Our father wanted Mona to become an IAS officer. After his death, she resolved to make his dream come true," her sister said.
Mona, she said, got a job with Delhi Police in 2014. It was during her posting at the control room that she met Rana. The head constable, who was married, allegedly murdered 27-year-old Mona in 2021 after she turned down his proposal. Two of his brothers-in-law have been arrested for allegedly helping him in a cover-up.
"Rana would often come home, we never suspected any wrong intention. Mona then got a job in Uttar Pradesh police. In 2020, she started living in Mukherjee Nagar and preparing for UPSC, the civil services entrance exam," she said. "Surendra used to call her 'beta' and took care of her. We never suspected anything. Then Mona went missing in 2021. We asked Surendra, but he said he had no clue about her whereabouts."
In October 2021, Mona's sister registered a missing complaint at Mukherjee Nagar police station. Surendra accompanied her.
The head constable put in motion an intricate plan to cover up his crime by convincing Mona's family that she was alive, but did not want her family to contact her. He got his brother-in-law Rabin to call up Mona's family members. Rabin introduced himself as "Arvind" and said he and Mona had married, but were hiding because his family was opposed to their marriage.
"We were suspicious. Why wasn't Mona speaking to us? She was an educated woman and we had never stopped her from doing anything," her sister said.
Surendra, she said, would send Mona's family audio recordings in which he was heard asking her to return home. The cop had some audio clips in Mona's voice. He would edit them to add his voice and simulate a conversation.
"I travelled across five states to look for my sister. Every time her ATM card was used, I would go to that state. When I saw CCTV footage from the ATM kiosks, I would see a man wearing a helmet. Surendra would share information about hotels or dhabas and I would rush to them, hoping to find Mona," said her sister, who works as a school teacher.
"I could not get leave daily to look for my sister. There were days when I would finish work, go to police stations for information about Mona. Some days, it would get so late that I could not even go home. I returned to school in the same clothes as the fay before. On one occasion, I got information that Mona was in Karnataka. I took leave and travelled there. Now I know the call was made by Surendra's wife Rabin," she said.
To draw Mona's family deeper into his web of lies, Surendra got a woman vaccinated and got a Covid jab certificate in Mona's name. "We had started suspecting Surendra, but we had no proof. When we spoke to the cops at Mukherjee Nagar police station, they said, 'your sister has eloped'. Our family was shattered, but I did not lose hope," she said, fighting back tears.
Eight months after she registered the missing complaint, a case was filed, but there was no breakthrough whatsoever. Two months back, Mona's sister met Delhi Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora and shared her heart-rending account. The case was transferred to the crime branch, which cracked it within two months.
Her sister is now waiting for strict punishment for the accused. She has requested senior police officers to recover Mona's remains so that the family can perform her last rites.