A man repeatedly stabbed a 25-year-old woman in Dadar (East) yesterday, having mistaken her for his estranged wife.
Vijay Krishna Sangelkar (35), a farmer from Sawantwadi, had planned to kill his wife Vaishali to avenge himself. He had harboured deep resentment towards her ever since she filed a dowry case against him and his kin, after which some of his family members boycotted him.
The woman who unwittingly became the victim of Sangelkar’s vengeance has been identified as Sonal Lapshia, a resident of Bhandup (West) and is now in a critical condition at Bombay Hospital.
Last morning, Sanjay Rane, a constable attached to the Matunga police station was posted at the Dadar police chowki, when he heard loud cries for help emerge from the vicinity of the Swaminarayan temple nearby. He rushed to help and found a middle-aged man stabbing a young woman.
“I managed to catch hold of the man who was wielding a sickle, and brought him to the Matunga police station. The woman was lying in a pool of blood, and my other colleagues rushed her to Sion hospital,” said Rane.
When the police interrogated the accused, he identified himself as a farmer from Sangola in Sawantwadi, and surprised the police by saying that he had stabbed the wrong person.
During interrogations, Sangelkar revealed that he had married Vaishali in 2007, and even had a child with her, who is now four-year-old. But since 2010, the couple would have frequent arguments. Soon, Vaishali separated from Vijay and started staying with her parents in Nalasopara.
“Vaishali had filed a dowry case against Vijay and his family members in Sawantwadi police station, following which Vijay’s brother and parents were arrested by the police. Following their arrest, Vijay’s brother had stopped talking to him,” said Ravindra Khandagale, assistant commissioner of police, Matunga division.
Blaming her for his isolation, he decided to ask Vaishali for a divorce. However, Vaishali refused to give him a divorce, and allegedly asked him for money which he could not provide.
“Vijay decided that he would kill Vaishali and then surrender to the police. Accordingly, he called his wife from a phone booth on Sunday to Nalasopara station around 4 pm. She came, but brought her child along,” said Khandagale.
Unable to harm his wife in front of his child, Vijay decided to defer his plans. He was aware that Vaishali worked for a private firm in Dadar and would to get off her train at Dadar station the next morning. He rang her up last morning. Vaishali told him that she would be reaching Dadar around 8.30 am near Swaminarayan Temple.
“Vijay told her that he wanted to pay her and finish the court case for once and for all. But when Vijay again rang Vaishali, she did not receive the call. When he was standing at the bus stop near Swaminarayan temple waiting for her, a girl with a scarf tied around her face came to the bus stop. Assuming that the woman was his wife, he stabbed her, first on the right side of her neck. When she shielded her neck, he stabbed her hands, cheeks and arms,” said Senior Inspector Suresh Parab.
Sonal was wearing a salwar kameez of the same colour that Vaishali had worn the previous day. “Thinking that the woman was my wife Vaishali, I stabbed her. She fell on the floor, and when her scarf fell from her face, I realised that she was someone else. I was surprised and surrendered to the police,” said Vijay in his statement to the Matunga police.
“Hearing someone scream early in the morning, I looked out of my balcony and saw that a man was stabbing a girl. She fell. Soon, the public and police managed to overpower him,” said Aarthi Pathak, a resident of West View Apartment near the Swaminarayan Temple in Dadar (East).
Sonal is studying to become a company secretary and was supposed to appear for her exam on December 26. “She is a bright student and was going to the library in Dadar (East). She was waiting for the bus when she was attacked by Vijay. The only thing common between his wife Vaishali and Sonal was their dress,” said Khandagale.
“Sonal was later transferred to Bombay Hospital. She has deep injuries on her neck and doctors said she will have to undergo plastic surgery. Her brother is a doctor at Sion hospital and her father owns a grocery shop,” revealed Sonal’s cousin Viren.
The Matunga police have arrested Vijay on attempted murder charges and he will be produced before the Bhoiwada metropolitan magistrate court today.
Another blot on the ‘safe’ city
>> A 62-year-old former schoolteacher was raped by an acquaintance at her Powai residence on December 9. Cops arrested Ashok Kumar, who is now in police custody.
>> On November 7, Jerrit John, a short film director was arrested for hurling a corrosive chemical at his 26-year-old ex-girlfriend.
>> On November 2, 22-year-old Mona Chaudhary was walking along E Moses Road in Parel to Shirodkar High School in Bhoiwada, when two college dropouts attacked her.
>> Sajjad Ahmed Mughal, watchman of a residential complex in Wadala, was arrested on August 10 for murdering a 25-year-old lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha.
>> A 15-year-old girl committed suicide after she was assaulted and paraded naked by four women in Indira Nagar in Sewri on September 20.