Indian army at border
Indian army soldiers [Representational image]Creative commons

Two Indian Army men were arrested by the Vivek Nagar police in Bengaluru Friday, March 30, for brutally stabbing their colleague to death and burning his body. Army officials found the body of Army Service Corps (ASC) sepoy Pankaj Kumar, a native of Uttar Pradesh, March 25, after which they alerted the police.

The incident took place on the night of March 23, but the arrests were made Friday.

The police said that Muralikrishna and Dhanaraj, both from the Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh, had murdered Kumar as he was a witness in a case in which Muralikrishna was facing a disciplinary action. Fearing that he may lose his job, Muralikrishna, along with Dhanaraj, decided to kill Kumar.

It is also being said that Muralikrishna had earlier stolen Kumar's identity card, and the matter had been taken for inquiry. "The issue turned out to be serious. His superiors took cognisance of it and an inquiry was conducted. Krishna was on the verge of being dismissed from service. He continued to have a grouse against Kumar for this reason," a senior police officer told The Hindu.

Detailing the series of events, Deputy Commissioner of Police Dr Chandragupta told the Press Trust of India that on the night of March 23, Kumar returned to his room after a drill, when Muralikrishna and Dhanaraj came to his room. The trio got into an argument, after which the accused stabbed the victim to death.

They then took Kumar's body to Domlur in a water tanker and set it ablaze. However, the body wasn't burnt completely and they brought it back to the campus and dumped it in a secluded spot. Muralikrishna and Dhanaraj then went to his room to clean up and remove the blood stains.

Kumar's absence was noticed during morning rolls and his colleagues came to the barracks to look for him. While the 26-year-old deceased was nowhere to be found, his friends noticed blood stains in the room.

The Indian Army then set up an inquiry into the matter and also sought the help of the local police. It was during the interrogation that Muralikrishna confessed to the crime and said he had taken Dhanaraj's help.

The duo has now been charged under sections 302 (murder) 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.

Meanwhile, this is not first such incident. In December 2017, an Indian paramilitary soldier shot dead four of his colleagues at a camp in the Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.

A spokesperson for the Central Reserve Police Force told ANI that 35-year-old Sanath Kumar had opened fire at his colleagues after they got into an argument.

Before that, another paramilitary soldier had killed four of his senior officers over an argument over his leave, reported the Agence France-Presse.