A 17-year-old girl was allegedly shot dead by a male friend in a parked Mercedes car at Najafgarh, southwest Delhi, on Tuesday night. The suspect — identified as Shubham (22) — is absconding, police said on Wednesday. The girl’s identity will not be revealed until the autopsy is done.

The incident occurred while the teenage girl was returning home from lunch with two others, Shubham and Yogesh. “The trio was coming back to Najafgarh in 28-year-old Yogesh’s car after having lunch at a restaurant in Rajouri Garden. Although all the three hailed from the same locality in Najafgarh, Yogesh claimed that the girl only knew Shubham. He said she met him for the first time that day,” a senior police officer said. Police received two versions of the incident from Yogesh and the girl’s mother, and while both agreed that Shubham was the murderer, they differed on certain counts.

According to Yogesh, he had chatted with Shubham on WhatsApp between 12 and 12.30 pm earlier that day. In the conversation that ensued, Yogesh reportedly told Shubham that he would order an expensive brand of beer, to which Shubham replied that he was bringing a girl with him. Yogesh then asked Shubham to not take offence if he drinks in front of her.

At the Rajouri Garden restaurant, Shubham and the girl sat at one table while Yogesh made himself comfortable at another. Both the men ordered beer with their food. The three made a brief halt at Dwarka on the way back. While Yogesh drove the car, Shubham and the girl sat in the backseat.

Later that evening, the girl’s mother began calling to ask her to return home soon. Around 8 pm, as the three were nearing her house, Yogesh rushed out of the car to relieve himself. It was there that he spotted a friend, Nitin (22), and the two began conversing. Suddenly, they heard a gunshot. When Nitin and Yogesh ran towards the car, they found the girl lying in a pool of blood and Shubham standing nervously outside the car. The girl’s mother, who was waiting a few metres away, also heard the sound and came running towards the car. “According to Yogesh, they saw that the girl had been shot in the chest. Yogesh’s licensed pistol was lying nearby,” the police officer said. While the others were attending to the girl, Shubham disappeared.

In her statement to the police, the mother said the girl had left home on the pretext of attending a friend’s birthday party with Nitin. When she called the victim around 6.30pm, the girl told her that she was with Nitin and handed the phone to Shubham. However, the mother saw through the ruse and reprimanded the girl. The victim responded by saying she would be home in 15-20 minutes, and cut the call. The mother then called Nitin, who confirmed that the girl was not with him. Taking the girl’s younger brother with him, Nitin went about the neighbourhood in search of her on his Scooty. He returned around 8 pm, with a black Mercedes in tow.

The girl’s brother went to his mother, who was waiting nearby, and Nitin crossed the road to meet them. Yogesh and Shubham alighted from the car, with the girl still inside. Soon, Nitin and Shubham began arguing. “An enraged Shubham then went to the car and shouted: Aaj is kahaani ko yahi khatam kar dunga (I will end this matter right here)! Then he shot my daughter and ran away,” the mother told the police in her statement.

The murder was allegedly committed with Yogesh’s pistol. The girl was taken to a hospital in Dwarka, where she was declared dead on arrival. A PCR call was made around 9.25pm from the hospital. “We have recovered the car and the pistol. Statements of the eyewitnesses have been taken. Efforts are on to nab Shubham,” the police officer said, adding that the suspect’s relatives are also absconding. Yogesh and Nitin are being interrogated to ascertain the facts, police said.