GURGAON: After being named as an accused in the February 16 killings of two men from Rajasthan, Nasir and Junaid, cow vigilante Monu Manesar fled to Thailand, staying there for weeks before he returned to India, but steered clear of Haryana, lying low in Vrindavan instead, police sources said on Wednesday.

Investigators who interrogated Monu – whose real name is Mohit Yadav – after his arrest from the city on Tuesday said he had managed to evade detection by keeping a low profile in the southeast Asian country and carefully staying under the radar of electronic surveillance while Rajasthan police teams were carrying out raids after the February murders.
“He cut off all contact with his family and close aides to avoid being tracked by the police. During his stay in Thailand, he also visited shooting ranges to practice,” a Nuh police officer said.
Monu (32), who was named as an accused by the families of Nasir and Junaid, whose charred bodies were found inside a burnt Bolero in Bhiwani on February 16, has often posted social media videos showcasing his guns. Leader of a cow vigilante network in south Haryana, he was granted an arms licence in 2019 after he was shot at by a cow smuggler in a chase. The licence was revoked after the Bhiwani murders.
On Tuesday, a Nuh police SIT probing the July 31 communal riots arrested Monu from a grocery store in Manesar for posting a provocative video.
Sources said he again denied involvement in the deaths of Nasir and Junaid. “He was continuously monitoring the developments in the Bhiwani case through media reports. After a few weeks, when the media stopped writing about the case and police stopped conducting raids, he returned to India,” the officer said.
In Vrindavan, he kept changing SIMs. “He also opened several social media accounts – in the names of Mohit Manesar, Monu Manesar and Mohit Yadav – to keep investigators on their toes about the real profile,” the officer said.
He took other precautions too. “Monu would only contact his aides through WhatsApp calls from Vrindavan,” the officer added. The app uses end-to-end encryption, which means all messages and calls can be legible only to the sender and the recipient.
Monu, however, did not disappear from social media. He continued to post videos and photos of his cow vigilante network chasing suspected smugglers.
Monu is currently in the custody of Rajasthan Police, who took him away on transit remand from Nuh after Haryana Police produced him in court.
On February 15, Nasir and Junaid – residents of Bharatpur in Rajasthan – were allegedly chased, abducted, thrashed and killed by cow vigilantes, according to their family’s complaint filed in Deeg. The chargesheet for abduction, murder and criminal conspiracy was filed against three suspects and named 27 others, including Monu.

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