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Ex-merchant navy officer kills father, injures 12 others

A dismissed Merchant Navy officer went on a deadly spree in east Delhi’s Patparganj area on Sunday, stabbing his father to death, and injuring a neighbour and a security guard, before setting another neighbour’s house on fire, which left 10 cops critically hurt.

Rahul Matta, 39, who also held a neighbour hostage for a while, was reported to be mentally disturbed. He had a strained relationship with his father Ravindra Matta, who lived in Canada and was visiting his wife Vibha in Delhi, sources said.

Police said Rahul, who has criminal cases registered against him in India and abroad, reached the Ajanta Apartments in the afternoon and forcefully tried to gain entry in the complex. When denied entry, he attacked the security guard after a brief scuffle.

The injured guard somehow managed to inform Complex Secretary JL Gupta, who then reached the gate where the incident took place along with a few other residents. Rahul’s father Ravindra also rushed down to the spot. Rahul then attacked him inside the guard room, stabbing him multiple times.

He then came out and ran towards his house. Along the way, he attacked a resident, Renu Bansal, as well. He then entered his neighbour VK Sharma’s house, who lives on the third floor along with his wife and son.

“I had a close shave with death today. Me and my son were at home. When we heard the commotion, my son went down to check. He then crossed paths with Rahul but no harm was done,” Sharma said.

“Rahul then came to our house and confessed that he had killed his father. He added, ‘I love you uncle and I don’t want to harm you.’ Then he asked me to go to the toilet and stay there,” Sharma said, adding that instead he slipped into an adjacent room that had a balcony and locked himself there. By then, police officers had reached the spot and they rescued Sharma.

Meanwhile, Rahul had locked himself up in the kitchen. When the cops tried to force open the door, he set the house on fire. Sharma’s house was completely gutted and the police officers were also injured.

Four Sub-Inspectors (SI) sustained 30-40 per cent burn injuries whereas two Assistant Sub-Inspectors (ASI) sustained 25 per cent burns. Rahul suffered burn injuries as well.

Finally, the police officers managed to overpower him. “Three police personnel also sustained stab wounds. The father and the son had a strained relationship. Rahul was on a killing spree and could have harmed anyone. The bravery shown by the police force is commendable. Vibha, Ravindra’s wife, was inside her duplex flat on the first floor. She was also safely rescued,” said DCP (E) Omvir Singh.

The entire incident was recorded on the CCTV cameras in the complex. The crime team and the forensics team also reached the location to lift evidence. Two meat cleavers were seized from Rahul’s possesion. A case has been registered at the Madhu Vihar police station, and further investigation is underway.

Rahul had been disowned by his family because of his mental condition and behaviour. Residents said he is married and has two kids. “His entry was banned after his father disowned him. He had once been jailed for molesting a girl in the neighbourhood,” a resident said.

Past imperfect

In July 2016, Rahul Matta was booked for molesting a girl at the Mother Dairy near his house. Residents said he spent four days in Tihar. His family members were constantly disturbed by his behaviour as he used to harass and stalk women near his house. He also had a case of harassing a woman registered against him in Canada and was jailed as well.

“He was a weird person. Despite being dismissed from the Merchant Navy, he used to roam around in the uniform while riding a cycle. He had put the Indian flag and a transistor on his cycle. He would randomly start walking behind women and do stupid things,” a resident said.

Rahul’s social media profile suggests that he was an upright officer but the posts he shared paint a different picture altogether. He had shared articles on wrongful conviction, and US inmates on death row, among other topics.

Rahul’s father Ravindra Matta drove a cab and worked as a loader in Canada. His other son, Mukul Matta, also lives in Canada with his family. Ravindra had disowned Rahul from his property.