Sunday, September 25, 2022

Sara Inam murder case: Accused Shahnawaz tried tampering with evidence, per police

Police say accused broke one of his own as well as his wife's phone with dumbbells to erase data, per sources

Suspect Shahnawaz confesses to hitting his wife on the head with dumbbells. — Twitter
Suspect Shahnawaz confesses to hitting his wife on the head with dumbbells. — Twitter

  • Police say accused broke one of his own as well as his wife's phone with dumbbells to erase data.
  • A total of six mobile phones were recovered from the crime scene, per police.
  • Police say accused also cut Canadian passport of victim with scissors, per sources.

ISLAMABAD: Some new developments took place in the Sara Inam murder case on Sunday as the police revealed that the accused, Shahnawaz Amir — the son of senior journalist Ayaz Amir — tried tampering with the evidence.

Following the end of their remand, the father-son duo will be presented in court again on September 26 (tomorrow).

The police said they recovered six mobile phones from the crime scene, out of which five of them belonged to Shahnawaz, while one of them was registered in the victim's name. 

Police added that the accused had broken one of his own as well as his wife's phone with the dumbbells — the murder weapon — to erase the data. 

"The accused tried to conceal evidence in the case by breaking the mobile phones that he used to contact the victim," police sources told 

All recovered phones have been sent for forensic analysis, the police said, per sources, adding that they will find out the reason behind the dispute between the couple by covering the data from the mobile phones.

According to sources, the accused also cut the Canadian passport of the victim with scissors to make it invalid. Pieces of her passport, as well as the scissors, have been recovered from the site of the murder, the police said.

The car bought for Sara has been seized and transferred to the police station, police sources said.

The case

The accused Shahnawaz was detained by the police on Friday, September 23, for being a suspect in his wife's murder. He confessed to committing the crime and said that he "thought" his spouse was having an affair with someone else.

Sara was murdered in the Chak Shahzad area of ​​the federal capital on Friday and according to the spokesperson of the Islamabad Police, Shahnawaz allegedly killed her at home.

During the preliminary investigation of the case, the suspect told the police that he had tied the knot with the victim three months ago and that she was his third wife. They had met on social media. 

"I thought she had an affair with someone else but she has assured me that she was not seeing anyone," Shahnawaz told the police, per sources.

According to sources, he further told the police that he suspected the deceased was "some other country's agent" and that he "felt that she was plotting to kill him."

During interrogation, the suspect said that Sara had tried to strangle him after which he pushed her away from him.

"Sara tried strangling me at about 9:30am. I thought I would die so I pushed her away and she fell," he told the police, per sources. "She got up and attacked me again, so I grabbed my dumbbells which were lying nearby and hit her on the head."

The suspect further maintained that after he hit his wife, the room was filled with blood which sent him into a state of panic.

"I, therefore, placed Sara's body in a bathtub to clean the blood stains," he said, according to the sources, adding that he took a picture of the bathtub and sent it to his father, Ayaz Amir.

First information report

Police registered a first information report (FIR) on the complaint of Station House Officer (SHO) Nawazish Ali Khan on Friday under Section 302 (punishment for murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

The FIR states that the suspect's mother, Samina Shah, called the police on Friday to inform them that her son, Shahnawaz, had killed his wife with a dumbbell.

According to the FIR, Shah told the police that her son was in the house and had hidden the body of his wife. Following this, the police raided the house.

In the complaint, the police said that Shahnawaz had locked himself inside his room and when the personnel broke inside, there were blood spots on his hands and clothes.

Once the police got hold of Shahnawaz, he, according to the FIR, confessed to hitting his wife repeatedly with a dumbbell during an argument and then later hiding the Canadian national's body in the bathtub.

The "murder weapon", the FIR quoted Shahnawaz as saying, was hidden under his bed. Police, after examining the dumbbell, reportedly found blood and hair on it. They later sent it for forensics.

Ayaz Amir arrested

A day earlier, police took into custody senior journalist Ayaz Amir after obtaining arrest warrants for him and his former wife in the murder case.

Amir was taken to Shahzad Town police station where an additional clause Section 109 (punishment for abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code was added at the request of Sara's uncles — Colonel (retd) Ikram and Zia-ur-Rahim — who blamed Amir and his former wife for their niece's murder.

After his arrest, police produced Ayaz in court to acquire his physical remand. The investigation officer of the case pleaded with the court to approve his five-day physical remand.

During the hearing, Ayaz said that he had informed the police himself about the murder, however, he has no intention to save Shahnawaz from punishment in a murder case.

“If I had an intention to save my son, it would not have been difficult to hide a dumbbell,” he said.

“I asked Sara once whether she know about Shahnawaz’s former marriages and his habit of intoxication, on which she replied that Shahnawaz is good at heart. I have sympathy with Sara and her family,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ayaz’s counsel said that he can’t be arrested just for being a high-profile journalist as police have no evidence against him.

After listening to the arguments from both sides, the court approved a one-day physical remand of Ayaz and handed him over to the police.