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Benzi Singh, 25, held for Wednesday’s murder of a security guard in south Delhi’s Safdarjung Enclave, had woken up in the middle of the night around two weeks ago and reportedly told roommates he had been hearing “voices” telling him to “kill people and rape women”.
“It was around 3-4am when I woke up to an impatient knock on the door. Benzi was shivering. He said someone was talking to him. He came and slept next to me that night. The following day, we took him to a psychiatrist. We did not know he would murder someone,” Singh’s roommate, who did not wish to be named, claimed.
In the early hours of Wednesday, Singh, who hails from Manipur, who was reportedly suffering from insomnia and depression, was arrested for the murder of Ram Bahadur Khatri (65), a security guard. His roommates said he had failed to clear the civil services examination recently.
Police said that Singh was upset after an argument with an autorickshaw driver last week and had stepped out of his house on Wednesday to reportedly kill any autorickshaw driver he came across. And then he met Khatri.
Police said Khatri, a guard, had just taken a nap in an autorickshaw parked on the road. Singh allegedly stabbed him on the neck with a paper cutter.
Singh’s roommate claimed that around 11am, when they first heard about a murder in the neighbourhood, they told Singh. “His first reaction was that he could solve the case. We found it strange but we let it be. After an hour, there was a knock on our door. Two police officers walked in and said our friend was wanted for murder,” the roommate said.
Police recovered Singh’s phone, which they said had a “15-point guide to a perfect murder”.
Singh and his two friends lived in a two-room flat in Humayunpur, less than 400m from the crime scene. His friends claimed Singh suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Singh’s friends said on Thursday he read a lot of detective and crime stories — his favourite character was Professor James Moriarty, the antagonist in Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Sherlock Holmes series.
“He always said he would name is son Ben Moriarty. Recently, he had ordered a pen knife and a pepper spray. Then he cancelled the order. He always said he felt unsafe,” said the other roommate.
His roommates shared pictures of him with a gun, which they claimed he had been posting on social media.
In one of these photos, Singh appeared to be holding a gun, while in another, there was a gun on a desk alongside some study material. The authenticity of these pictures and whether the gun was real could not be independently verified.
Both of his roommates said they did not wish to be identified.
His roommates said Singh appeared depressed since he failed to the civil service exam. “He had gone home after learning that he had failed. He returned after a month and had become more aggressive. He told us his relatives had advised him not to take the pills prescribed by his psychiatrist,” the second roommate said.
Deputy commissioner of police (south) Vijay Kumar said police have found several copies of medical prescriptions in Singh’s room. “He has confessed he could not sleep for days and was having hallucinations,” Kumar said.