NOIDA: Whether it was a carefully considered move or a decision made in the throes of panic, Nitin Nath Singh chose the most obvious place to hide. It nearly paid off.
The 62-year-old owner of a publishing house was closeted in his bungalow for nearly 16 hours on Sunday after allegedly murdering his wife while police looked for him all over, even issuing a lookout notice and dispatching a team to Nepal on suspicion that Singh, who holds a British passport, would fly out from there.
The police timeline suggests Singh killed his wife Renu – a year younger to him and a Delhi high court lawyer – between 9.30am and 10am on Sunday. Renu’s death was discovered around 5pm when her brother, unable to reach her phone, came to visit the house, found the doors locked and informed police.
The cops reached in half an hour and started a search. Sniffer dogs were brought in next. Singh perhaps heard the sirens, the thud of the main door being broken open, the clatter of feet advance and recede, and the panting of dogs looking for his scent from the stillness of his hideout. But he went undetected.
The cover was blown only around 2am when a careful look at CCTV footage suggested no one had left the house and another search was ordered of the 3,200 sq ft two-storey bungalow in Sector 30. This time, cops broke open doors of the first-floor rooms that were locked. In a small anteroom here – its door locked from within and its lights turned off – was the suspect. Singh, by police accounts, would have been inside the anteroom for around nine hours. He likely locked himself inside the anteroom after his brother-in-law arrived, taking with him both his and Renu’s cellphones, which he switched off.
Lawyer’s husband managed to evade detection for hours
Originally from Patna, Renu was married to Nitin for 33 years. The couple’s son is settled in the US.
Police began looking for Singh after Renu’s family accused him of killing her, alleging that ties between the couple were troubled. A neighbour told cops when he called Singh on Sunday morning, he told him he was somewhere near Lodhi Garden in Delhi and hung up.
Renu’s brother Ajay also alleged Singh texted him “I am on my way” when he tried calling him since he couldn’t reach Renu’s phone.
Police admitted they were clueless about Singh’s whereabouts in the first few hours. “A police team initially searched the house with a dog squad. Four teams were formed – one to track the location of his phone, another to trace him physically, a third to monitor CCTV footage and one to talk to people from the neighbourhood,” DCP Harsh Chander told TOI on Monday.
Sources in the police said when the Ajay told them Singh had influential and could wield his influence to flee the country, a lookout circular was issued against him. “A team was dispatched to Nepal as well,” an officer said.
“Although the house had CCTV cameras, none of them were functional. So, we sourced footage from cameras installed in nearby buildings. There was no suspicious movement whatsoever from the house. We then decided to break open each and every door and found Singh hiding inside the dark anteroom,” Chander said.
Preliminary investigation revealed Renu had confronted Singh on Sunday morning after coming to know that he had cut a deal to sell their house for Rs 4.5 crore and taken Rs 55 lakh as advance. “This led to an argument. In the heat of the moment, Singh throttled her and she slumped to the ground,” the DCP said.
While Renu lay dead in a washroom on the ground floor, the house had two visitors – the domestic helper (around 10.30am) who Singh sent away and a broker (around 11.30am) who he saw off after allowing a brief recce of the ground floor living room and the first floor. “He showed the broker the drawing room and took him straight to the first floor. He promised to show him the remaining rooms some other day,” the DCP said.
After the broker left, Singh locked the main door and tied a chain around the latch. “We found his passport in the pocket of his shirt. He told his interrogators he was planning to consult his lawyer on whether to surrender or leave the country. We also found some documents. We are getting the passport and documents verified by the British high commission,” Chander said.
Singh, a 1986-batch Indian Information Service (IIS) officer, took voluntary retirement after 12 years on the job and then worked with a US-based multinational company. He was also associated with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) for research. “He was now running a publication company that he opened five years ago. Sinha was planning to buy a house in Sector 26 after selling the current one,” Chander said.
The autopsy report, police said, is yet to be ready. Renu was diagnosed with bone cancer some years ago and had a pancreatic ailment as well. She was mostly confined to her room because she needed to stay in a temperature-controlled space, a police officer said.

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