Priyanka's tattoo on the left shoulder was the only lead the police had
The headless torso of a woman found in a nullah in MIDC, Rabale, on May 6 has been identified with the help of a mid-day report. The sister of the deceased chanced upon this paper's report on May 9 on the gruesome finding and identified her through the sole clue in the case - a Ganesh and Om tattoo on the left shoulder.
The woman has been identified as Priyanka Gurav (24), who was reported missing from her marital home in Worli since April 5. She had married her college sweetheart, Siddesh Gurav (25), just five days prior to her disappearance.
Her sister, Dombivli resident Kavita Dudhane (32), said Priyanka left home on April 5 for a job interview, but didn't return. "We looked for her at all possible locations." The family waited awhile, hopeful of her return. Siddesh finally registered a missing person complaint at Worli police station on May 7.
mid-day's report on May 9 on Priyanka Gurav
A friend drew Dudhane's attention to the mid-day report on May 9. "I was about to join my friend for lunch. She was reading mid-day and told me about the discovery of a woman's torso from a nullah. For some reason, I felt it was Priyanka."
While reading the report, Dudhane's eyes rested on the accompanying photograph of a tattoo found on the torso's shoulder. "It was exactly like the one Priyanka had on the left shoulder," she said.
Priyanka had got herself inked just two months prior to her marriage. "Our brother, Ganesh, helped her find a tattoo artist in Ghatkopar West," said Dudhane.
The Dombivli resident called up her brother, who, too, found a resemblance between the two tattoos. The two then set off for the tattoo studio the same afternoon to confirm their misgivings.
The tattoo artist said the tattoo in the photograph was his work of art and also identified Priyanka. A staff member told the siblings that Priyanka had come in with her own tattoo design.
Dudhane then called up the Rabale police, who directed her to the Worli police. On discovering the identity of the torso, both Worli and Rabale police began recording statements of Dudhane and Priyanka's in-laws. Dudhane recognised the green and black kurta that the torso was found in, saying she had gifted it to Priyanka. "She was wearing the same kurta the day she disappeared," she said.
The police took the family to JJ Hospital's post-mortem centre, where the torso has been kept.
The Ganesh and Om tattoo she had got on her shoulder
Dudhane said Priyanka was disturbed in the weeks before her wedding and claimed having dreamt of meeting a gruesome death.
"She dreamt that someone was hacking her to death and that her body parts were being dumped," she said. "I asked her if she was scared of anyone or was being pressured by someone. She said no. So, I did not take her misgivings seriously."
Priyanka had confided in her sister that she had had similar macabre dreams in the days prior to their parents' death; they died in 2005 of neurological and renal ailments. Following their demise, Dudhane had taken on the caregiver's role for her three siblings - Priyanka, Reshma (married and residing in Ahmednagar) and Ganesh (married and residing in Diva).
Last rites not yet
The police will release the body to the family only after they trace the missing body parts. "We will keep the body till we make a headway in the case and find the missing body parts. The family will have to wait till then for the last rites," said a senior officer.
A forensic surgeon attached with JJ Hospital's post-mortem centre said the siblings' blood samples have not been collected to confirm the torso's identity.
"We already have the DNA samples of the deceased along with skin and viscera, which have been sent for forensic analysis to the State Forensic Science Laboratory in Kalina."
Chandrakant Katkar, senior inspector of Rabale MIDC police station, said a DNA test will soon be undertaken.
DCP (crime) Tushar Doshi said, "The relatives have identified the clothes, the ring and the tattoo from the photograph and the torso. So far, we presume that the deceased was Priyanka and a DNA match will ascertain it."
Inspector P Jadhav, investigating officer from Rabale MIDC police station, is hopeful that the case will be cracked soon. "Usually, once the identity of the deceased is established, 50 per cent of the case is solved."