The smartest criminals are also often the dumbest ones because, having committed the perfect crime, they can’t resist bragging about it. This is exactly what happened to a property broker from Shahapur in Thane district, who murdered another broker he was having a dispute with and threw the body off a cliff, into a nearly 2,000-foot deep gorge in Malshej Ghat.
Mumbai crime: Bragging about unsolved murder lands killer in jail
Bohir was shot and thrown off a cliff into this gorge
The remains would have lain there, pecked off bit by bit by crows and vultures and swept away by a babbling brook nearby, until there was nothing left to discover but for the broker’s need to brag about the murder to his friends in a drunken stupor.
Unfortunately for the criminal, the bragging, which took place in a bar earlier this month, was overheard by an informer, who approached the police and helped them arrest the broker in connection with the murder, which had taken place nearly four months ago.
Scouring the area to find the body, all that the cops could recover on Wednesday were some teeth, a few parts of the shattered skull, some other bones and what remained of the clothes that the victim was wearing. The broker and his accomplice have been charged with kidnapping and murder and are currently behind bars.
For the family of Datta Keru Bohir (34), a broker who dealt in adivasi non-agricultural plots, his staying away from home for weeks or even months was nothing new. Hence, when they saw Bohir leave their Shahapur house around March 23, they only expected to see him sometime in April or even May.
The months rolled by and, with June approaching, there was still no sign of Bohir. With even his phone being unreachable, the family began to get worried. They spoke to several people, including another broker, Kapil Jadhav (24), a resident of the Padgha village nearby, who was known to the family as someone who brought buyers to Bohir.
Jadhav told them that he hadn’t seen Bohir since March, and that got the family even more worried. Jadhav then suggested that the family lodge a missing complaint.
On June 29, Jadhav went with the family to the Shahapur police station and gave the police details of what Bohir was wearing blue jeans and a yellow half-sleeve T-shirt when he had seen the missing man last, which he claimed was sometime in March. With only those clues to go on, the police could not make much headway in the case, and speaking to other people known to Bohir also did not yield any information about his possible whereabouts.
Cue the braggart
In the first week of July, Jadhav was sitting with his friends in a bar in Shahapur and the conversation veered towards interesting crime stories. As the night wore on and Jadhav kept getting more and more drunk, he told his friends that he had murdered a person and disposed of his body.
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An informer sitting at a table nearby overheard this and informed the Shahapur police. The police detained Jadhav and, after sustained interrogation, he confessed to having murdered Bohir over a property dispute, but said he had thrown the body into the Mumbra creek.
Bohir’s family, who knew about the long-standing dispute, had, meanwhile, also begun to suspect Jadhav and, on July 13, they filed a complaint of kidnapping against him. The matter was then transferred to the Thane (Rural) Crime Branch for further investigation.
Assistant Inspector S B Harugade of the Thane (Rural) Crime Branch, who is also the investigating officer in the case, confirmed that a kidnapping case had been registered against Jadhav. According to Harugade, preliminary inquiries revealed that Jadhav had a dispute with Bohir that had lasted months and he held Bohir responsible for a loss of approximately Rs 40 lakh.
Jadhav told the police that Bohir had shown him a property and, in December 2014, Jadhav had found a buyer, who had given him a token amount of Rs 25-30 lakh. Jadhav had given this amount to Bohir so that he could pay the seller and procure the property.
Bohir, however, had allegedly concealed the fact that the property was disputed. He failed to procure the property and allegedly did not even return the amount to Jadhav, who was being hounded by the buyer. Jadhav, who had allegedly been cheated of smaller amounts by Bohir even before, incurred a heavy loss in the deal and he decided to teach Bohir a lesson.
According to officials, Jadhav tried to mislead them with a false story. While he confessed to murdering Bohir, he said that he had dumped the body in the Mumbra creek. The Crime Branch team took him and a few other people to search the creek and neighbouring area for three days last week but found no sign of the body, which was crucial for proving the murder.
Harugade added, “We got suspicious and questioned Jadhav one again. This time, he not only confessed to have dumped the body at Malshej Ghat but also revealed the name of his accomplice in the murder, Gajanan Banger, a Padgha resident, who has been arrested.” This information came to light only on July 21.
According to Harugade, on March 25, Jadhav took Bohir and Banger for a drink to the banks of the Bhatsa river near Shahapur after 7 pm, After drinking there for some time, they decided to visit a bar in Kalyan around 9.30 pm, before moving on to another bar in Ulhasnagar.
Once Bohir was sozzled, Jadhav and Banger drove him, in Bohir’s four-wheeler, to Malshej Ghat, where they reached around 3.30 am. Jadhav told the police that Bohir always kept a firearm in his vehicle and that they fired two rounds into his chest and forehead.
Banger and he then threw Bohir’s body into Malshej Ghat to destroy the evidence. Jadhav also said he threw the firearm an important piece of evidence into the valley, but the police suspect that he is lying about having done that. Harugade said the police will have to corroborate Jadhav’s statements with evidence.
Acting on the confession given by Jadhav, a Crime Branch team of eight policemen took the accused to Malshej Ghat to look for Bohir’s body on Wednesday morning. Assistant Inspector Harugade said, “Bohir was thrown into a valley in Malshej Ghat which is almost 650 metres (approximately 2,100 feet) deep, and the heavy rains had given birth to a stream at the bottom of the valley.
We had to take the risk of climbing down the ghat with the help of villagers, and only then did we come across the crucial piece of evidence”. According to Hargude, near the edge of a rock, at a 450-metre drop from the road, they found a few teeth, some parts of a skull and a few other bones.
A pair of blue jeans, remains of a yellow half-sleeved T-shirt which, prima facie, matched the description of the clothes Bohir was wearing in the missing complaintand undergarments were also found on the rock. Harugade said, “We were lucky to have at least found this much evidence.
Any further delay could have resulted in the evidence getting destroyed completely and being washed away due to heavy rains.” The samples have been sent to the Forensic Medicine and Toxicology Department of Grant Medical College for ascertaining the cause of death and for identification of the deceased.
Jadhav and Banger are in police custody and have been charged under IPC Sections 364 (kidnapping), 302 (murder), 201 (destruction of evidence) and others. The police have also written to the mobile service provider to ascertain the location of the accused and deceased on the day of the murder (March 25) to make a watertight case.
Harugade added that preliminary inquiry has also revealed that the deceased, Bohir, had two cases of forgery and cheating registered against him in the past over some land dispute.