The completely charred body of a 35-year-old builder from Delhi's New Ashok Nagar, later identified as Mohammad Rizwan, was found in a burnt Skoda bearing a Noida registration number plate on a link road 700 metres away from the Aligarh-Etah highway on Saturday morning.

Though initially it was suspected that the man may have been burnt in the car after it accidentally caught fire, police registered a case of murder after empty bottles that reeked of petrol were found in a nearby field.

According to Aligarh police, the murder apparently took place around 4 am, though they were informed about the burnt car by some passers-by at around 6.30 am.

Aligarh senior superintendent of police Rajesh Pandey said, "Preliminary investigations have revealed that there were at least three men in the car before it was set afire. Besides, a burnt cord was found on the rear seat of the car and some liquor bottles were also recovered from under the seats."

Pandey said that the body has been sent for post-mortem and fingerprints from the petrol bottles have been taken and sent for forensic analysis.

"We established the deceased's identity through the car's number plate which was registered in his name. His wife, Nazmeen Khan, had also filed a missing person's report at Jamia Nagar police station on Saturday. He was staying in a flat in New Ashok Nagar," the SSP said.

Nazmeen told over phone that her husband had left the house around 7 pm on Friday and he was in touch with her till 10.30 pm. "He told me that he was not feeling well and had vomited. I told him to come back home, but he insisted that he would be alright," she said.

She added that she went off to sleep and when she woke up around 4 am she tried calling him up on his mobile phone, which was switched off. Nazmeen said she waited for a few hours and when she could not get in touch with him, she went to the Jamia Nagar police station in Delhi since her in-laws live there and lodged a report.
"Rizwan had gone to Aligarh to recover some money from a few people," Nazmeen said, adding that her husband's real estate firm, named after their seven-year-old daughter Palak, who studies in a Noida school, had recently completed two projects in Noida's sector 73.
 
She claimed that Rizwan had no known enemies, "except for a woman he had married two years ago but divorced last December and who has been trying to blackmail him". She added: "She (the woman) had filed a police complaint against Rizwan after the divorce and he was arrested and spent three months in jail. He came out on October 26. But the woman had kept up with her demands for more money, some Rs 15 lakh, to settle the matter but he refused to pay."
 
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