60 calls to boyfriend on day of crime help police nab Kawatra's killers

Four youngsters have been arrested in the murder of 65-year-old Borivali photographer Navraj Kawatra, who was killed on Friday, by a special team from the MHB police. The four accused have been identified as Vipul Bose (24), Sabita Gupta (21), Gaurango Khale (21) and Siddharth Gupta (17). 

Navraj Kawatra
Breakthrough: The accused in the murder of Navraj Kawatra (inset), were arrested by the Borivali police yesterday. Kawatra, the photographer, was killed last Friday at his Borivali home

The police went through Kawatra’s call list on his phone, finding numbers of about 300 girls. Going through the entire list, the arrow of suspicion pointed towards one of the contacts Sabita, who had made around 60 calls to her boyfriend Vipul on the day of the crime. Vipul was summoned for interrogation, in course of which he confessed to the crime.

According to the police, Sabita, a Worli resident, told Vipul about Kawatra’s property, after which he started planning the robbery, as he was out of work. Sabita would often pose for Kawatra for money. He had told her about his properties, and this is what eventually spurred the crime.

Vipul planned the robbery with his neighbour and friend Gaurango, and Siddharth, Sabita’s brother. On the day of the murder, the three men reached the spot. When they reached, Siddharth was told to stay outside the apartment and keep watch, while Gaurango and Vipul went in to rob the victim.

Entering the apartment, they asked Kawatra to tell them where his money and papers were stashed. When he started shouting to alert the neighbours, they covered his mouth with their hands to stifle his cries, eventually suffocating him to death.

In course of their investigations, cops got hold of call detail records of Vipul’s phone, which showed that he had received the phone calls from Sabita in Borivali on the day of the murder. When they asked Vipul why he was in Borivali on the day of the murder, he caved in and confessed to his crime.

DCP Mahesh Patil, who headed the investigations, said, “This was a very challenging case as about 300 models’ numbers had to be traced, from which we narrowed in on Sabita. We have arrested the four accused who were involved in the murder. We have arrested Sabita as she was in contact with the accused and was giving them all the information via phone,” said Patil.

Kawatra, the son of famous Punjabi writer Amrita Pritam, was killed in his studio. 

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