Raj Shekhar , New Delhi Aug 3, 2020,
He would perhaps have gone through life as a genteel Dr Jekyll, but a failed business investment turned ayurvedic practitioner Devender Sharma into a monstrous Mr Hyde. His journey in notoriety included a kidney transplant racket, the operation of a fake gas agency and the sale of stolen vehicles. To get the gas cylinders for his agency, he waylaid gas delivery trucks and killed the drivers. He wantonly killed cabbies for their vehicles and, by his own reckoning, murdered over 100 people.
On his arrest on Wednesday — Sharma was detected living in southwest Delhi’s Baprola after jumping parole in January — another aspect of the macabre activities of the bachelor of ayurvedic medical sciences degree holder came to light. He dumped the bodies of his victims in Hazra Canal in UP’s Kasganj. The big population of crocodiles in the water body made short work of the corpses, obliterating all proof of Sharma’s dark deeds.
In their company, Sharma began intercepting trucks carrying LPG cylinders, killed the drivers and transported the cylinders to his fake agency. The quartet shared the profits. The trucks were dismantled and sold as scrap and the bodies of drivers thrown into rivers. It took police two years to catch up with Sharma, but the murders were never tracked.
Convicted of running an illegal gas business, Sharma was jailed. The time in prison did not change him. After release, he went back to his murderous ways, this time targeting taxi drivers. Sharma and his cohorts hired taxis from Delhi to towns in UP and killed the drivers on the way. While the cars were fenced off after altering the chassis and engine numbers, Sharma fed the bodies of the drivers to the crocodiles in Hazra canal.
Intoxicated by the money that came in this easy manner, Sharma now got involved in the illegal kidney transplant business in cahoots with the notorious Dr Amit Kumar, who ran a multi-nation racket in illegal kidney sales from Gurugram. Operating across Jaipur, Ballabhgarh, Gurgaon and other places, Sharma is implicated in 125 illegal transplants between 1995 and 2004. In each case, he is alleged to have earned around Rs 7 lakh.
Amid all this, Sharma did not neglect to operate his clinic in Rajasthan with the help of a local associate. It provided him an ever-ready alibi. However, his luck ran out in 2004 and he was arrested, along with Kumar, in the kidney case. When his Mr Hyde inclinations were exposed, his wife and children deserted him.
As the trial progressed, Sharma’s efforts at creating false alibis and obliterating evidence in Hazra canal bore fruit and he was eventually convicted only for seven of the over 100 murders he had admitted to. He was sent to Jaipur jail and spent 16 years behind bars until January 28 this year, when his “good behaviour” earned him a 20-day parole.
Sharma, now 62, decided life was better outside the jail. On February 16, the day his parole ended, Sharma signed the local police station register and informed the cops that he was returning to jail. Instead, he went underground, first staying in his village before moving in March to a relative’s houses in Mohan Garden in Delhi.
Soon after, he shifted to nearby Baprola, where he married the widowed Gita and masqueraded as a property dealer. However, old habits die hard, and Sharma was soon trying to peddle the long-litigated Marshall House near Connaught Place to some people. This was his undoing because it blew his cover. Delhi Police’s crime branch was tipped off about his presence, and a team lead by DCP Rakesh Paweria rearrested him on July 28 send him back behind bars. ( TOI )