New Delhi, Sep 22: In a bizarre case of mistaken identity, relatives of a 30-year-old man - who was reported missing for almost a month - cremated the body of another man, beaten to death by a mob after being caught during a theft, in outer Delhi's Samaipur Badli area, police said today.
It turned more bizarre when the missing man returned home nearly four weeks after the cremation and locals subjected him to almost an hour-long questioning to ensure that he was not "a ghost", said a police officer.
The missing man and the deceased had striking similarities - a missing finger which tops the list, followed by a scar on his leg and overall similarities in facial features.
The body was handed over to the relatives after they claimed for it, following a proper identification process, said the officer, denying any negligence on part of police.
According to the police, locals in Samaipur Badli area had allegedly beaten to death a thief after he was caught red-handed and his accomplices managed to flee on August 27.
A murder case was registered against unknown persons but the identity of the thief could not be ascertained.
When the news about the incident and the features of the deceased spread in the area through word of mouth, relatives of Dharam Singh approached the police and identified the body, which was handed over to them after the post-mortem.
The body was later cremated. Locals were shocked when they saw Dharam Singh walking towards his home on September 18.
On being subjected to questioning by the elders in the locality, Singh, who is an unemployed man, left home following a heated argument with his family members.
He claimed to have gone to nearby states with some truckers and returned after earning a few bucks, said the police officer. The police was later informed about the entire episode and the identity of the person who was allegedly beaten to death after being caught red-handed during a theft could not be ascertained yet, the officer added.