1. Shehla Masood
This environmentalist and RTI activist was shot dead around 11:16 AM on August 16, 2011 outside her house as she was about to leave. Her death was the result of jealousy on the part of Zahida Parvez, a married woman, who was having an affair with BJP MLA Dhruv Narayan Singh. Zahida used her rich background to keep a firm eye on Singh’s movements and phone calls and became suspicious of the relations between the MLA and the activist when Singh spent more time with Masood than Parvez. Parvez’s diary helped solve the crime with entries like: yaa toh mein khudkushi kar lungi yaa phir Shehla ko maar dalungi (I will either commit suicide or kill Shehla).
2. Shivani Bhatnagar
An Indian Express journalist was strangled and stabbed in her East Delhi apartment on January 23, 1999. Her husband, a Times of India journalist, immediately suspected IPS officer Ravi Kant Sharma with whom she had a long-term affair. Sharma’s wife Madhu said the killing was orchestrated by the real father of Shivani’s child – Pramod Mahajan, a BJP politician, who also was said to have had an affair with Bhatnagar. According to sources, Shivani wanted Sharma to divorce his wife and marry her after she divorced her husband. When he refused, she threatened to ruin his reputation. Sometime later, she was murdered. Sharma was sentenced and then acquitted.
3. Priyadarshini Mattoo
This 25-year-old law student was found raped and murdered in January 23, 1996. She was being stalked by Santosh Singh, the son of an Inspector General of Police. Mattoo had been given security for a while but was unprotected when the attack happened. As the case went on, Singh’s father became the Joint Commissioner of Police in Delhi and managed to make an ineffectual police case against his son. Despite clinching DNA and circumstantial evidence, Santosh was free to get married and practice law. Following public outcry, the case was taken up again and in 2006, Santosh was found guilty.
4. Naina Sahni
A case that took India by storm was the ‘Tandoor Murder Case’. Sushil Sharma and Naina Sahni had both worked for the Congress party and were married to each other; Sharma later became an MLA. On July 2, 1995 Sushil shot and killed Naina after suspecting her of having an affair with Matloob Karim, another Congress party worker. He then took her body to a restaurant called ‘Bagia Barbeque’ and with the help of the owner, Keshav Kumar, chopped it up and put it in the tandoor (clay oven). When passersby saw the thick plumes of smoke rising from the restaurant police and a fire brigade were called in, which led to the grisly discovery.
5. Abdul Kadir Bawla
The murder of Abdul Kadir Bawla took place in January 12, 1925 but had roots over a decade old, when a young Mumtaz Begum, a child of 12 or 13, was taken into the harem of the ruler of Indore. At 25 she had ‘fled’ that lifestyle and found solace in the company of Bawla, a businessman in Bombay. On orders of the Indore durbar, assailants fired into a car, killing Bawla; they tried to kidnap Mumtaz but ended up scarring her face. Three British men who were passing by stopped to help the injured woman and caught one of the assailants. After a high profile case, three accused were hanged and the Maharaja of Indore, Tukoji Rao, had to step down from the throne.
6. Syed Modi
A badminton player, Syed Modi had been the National Badminton Champion eight times. He also won the ‘83 and ‘84 Austrian International and the ‘82 Commonwealth Games – Men’s division. On July 28, 1988, he was shot dead as he left a practice session at a stadium in Lucknow. Soon enough, the police filed murder charges against Modi’s wife, Amita (also a badminton player), and her lover and future husband, Raja Sanjay Singh, a prominent Congress party politician. The Modis’ daughter was then two months old and some people were doubtful whether Syed was the father. Nothing was ever proved against the two adulterous people and the case still hides behind veils of suspicion.
7. Bhanwari Devi
Bhanwari Devi was a trained midwife and an auxiliary nurse who went missing on September 1, 2011. Her husband Amarchand alleged that she was abducted on orders of Mahipal Maderna, a Congress party politician. Facts uncovered revealed that Bhanwari Devi was blackmailing Maderna (and Congress legislator Malkhan Singh) with a CD in which he appeared in compromising positions with Bhanwari Devi herself. This plot first started at the request of Singh who wanted to discredit Maderna. When Bhanwari took matters into her own hands, the two men united to get rid of her. In January 2012, Bhanwari’s remains were found in a canal. Later, her husband too was proved to be part of the conspiracy.
8. Jyoti Dasani
Jyoti Dasani’s body was found in her husband’s car on July 28, 2014. Her rich and influential husband, Piyush, had alleged that she had been abducted the night before. However, it was later revealed that not only had Piyush ordered the kill, he was on the phone listening to his wife’s screams as she was repeatedly stabbed. Piyush was arrested along with girlfriend Manisha Makhija, her driver Awdhesh, and their aides. Policeman Rakesh Nayak was removed from his post after being caught on camera kissing Piyush’s forehead. This was seen as proof of political clout on behalf of the accused.
9. Geetika Sharma
23-year-old former air hostess Geetika Sharma killed herself on August 5, 2012. She had previously been an employee of Haryana’s Minister In-charge of home affairs, Gopal Kanda and blamed him and Aruna Chadha, another employee of Kanda’s, for driving her to suicide. Sharma’s family showed emails that proved that Kanda had led to her being sacked from Emirates Airlines and being forced to return from Dubai. Geetika’s appointment letter in Kanda’s company had bizarre clauses like she’d have to report to him every evening and she reportedly had to have ‘pregnancies terminated’. On February 15, 2013 Geetika’s mother also hanged herself and blamed Kanda for it.
10. Madhumita Shukla
When Madhumita Shukla was gunned down at close range in her two-bedroom apartment in Lucknow on May 9, 2003, she was seven months pregnant. The 24-year-old poet also was rumored to be the paramour of Amarmani Tripathi. The first sign of political interference was evident when chief investigator Mahindra Lalka was suspended for refusing to give a clean chit to Tripathi; he was later reinstated when he was proved right. DNA analysis proved that Tripathi was the baby’s father. Phone calls revealed that Tripathi and his wife, Madhumani, were behind Shukla’s death, apparently because Shukla was not as discreet as they would have liked her to be.
Shashi Prasad was a dalit girl and a law student in Faizabad. She went missing in October 22, 2007. Her father alleged that she had been kidnapped by BSP MLA, Anand Sen Yadav, and his associate Seema Azad. During an interrogation, Anand Sen’s driver Vijay admitted that the 24-year-old student was murdered. She had been pregnant during the time of her death. According to sources, Anand Sen had first showered Shashi with his attention in order to establish sexual relations with her, but when the girl became pregnant and began to insist on getting married, he decided to have her killed.
12. Fiza or Anuradha Bali
Anuradha Bali, former Assistant Advocate General of Haryana, got famous when she married former deputy Chief Minister of Haryana, Chander Mohan Bishnoi, in December 2008. Mohan (who was already married) and Bali converted to Islam to have a legal standing. However, this news was not well-received by several people, one of whom was Mohan’s father, who promptly disowned him. In January 2009, he left her and reconverted to Hinduism. On August 6, 2012 her body was found in a highly decomposed state. There was no suicide note at the scene or any evidence of a struggle, and her death is regarded as having occurred under mysterious circumstances.