For Umesh Kumar Pandey, it was another night spent at work. He was seated in his booth at the toll plaza in Kheri Daula at 12.30 am, when a car pulled up.
The 22-year-old asked the driver of the car for Rs 27 - the standard amount needed for cars entering or leaving Gurgaon. The Keri Daula toll booth is located just a kilometre away from the nearest Haldiram's restaurant, at the border with Manesar.
The driver refused to pay and asked Mr Pandey to let the car pass through the plaza towards Manesar. When he refused, someone in the car took out a revolver and shot him in the neck. Security camera footage shows Mr Pandey grabbing his neck, then collapsing onto the ground. He died immediately.
The police is using the CCTV footage to track down the car, which sources say was a Bolero.
The police also says that it is not uncommon for those who live in the many small villages in and around Gurgaon to argue incessantly about paying the toll. An unofficial system has evolved where drivers show their ID cards, establishing that they live nearby, and are allowed to pass through without any charge. The locals have been asking for this toll plaza to be shifted back by 6
km towards Manesar as more high rises have come up after toll. The local
MP has taken this up with National Highways Authority of India.
In this case, the police believes that the driver did not have an ID card, and that provoked a heated argument between Mr Pandey and the occupants of the car.