She had played a bit part in the 2011 horror film 404 that spooked audiences. But, the uncut tale of small-time actress Meenakshi Thapa’s murder is considerably more unnerving. According to cops, the two advocates-cum-struggling actors, who were arrested by unit IX of Mumbai crime branch on Saturday night, were carrying the severed head of the 26-year-old for two days before throwing it out of a moving bus.
According to crime branch officers, the two accused identified as Amit Jaiswal (36) and Preeti Elvina Surin (26), had killed Thapa after abducting her, and then demanded a ransom of Rs 15 lakh from her family. Cops say Thapa — a Nepalese who settled in Dehradun before moving to Mumbai — had gone missing a month ago from her Lokhandwala residence.
At a loss
Jaiswal and Surin had come to Mumbai last year and were staying in Virar. The two were advocates from Allahabad and were running a coaching class there. The duo had befriended Thapa at a film shoot. Thapa had told them that she was from a rich family and was working in Bollywood as a hobby. Jaiswal, who was married, was in dire straits when he met Surin. The two had then started the coaching class, which too was unprofitable. When his wife learnt about his affair, he left her and eloped to Mumbai with Surin.
Police inspector Sangeeta Patil from crime branch said that the couple came up with a plan to kidnap Thapa. The two on March 13, lured Thapa to Allahabad on the pretext of a film shoot. After killing her in Gorakhpur, they acquired her ATM card and mobile SIM card.
Raising from the dead!
The two then made calls to the victim’s mother and demanded a ransom of Rs 15 lakh. They threatened the family that they would shoot an obscene film of Thapa and then kill her if their demand was not met. The couple had instructed Thapa’s brother Navraj to deposit the cash in the victim’s account. Navraj had then registered a kidnapping complaint with the Dehradun police, who transferred the case to Amboli police station. Police officers said that Navraj had given the kidnappers Rs 60,000 even as cops were on the lookout for the duo. “Following a tip-off on Saturday, we arrested the couple from Bandra,” said S Satardekar, senior police inspector of crime branch unit IX.
Officers investigating the case said that they were tracing Thapa’s mobile phone, which showed her last known location as Allahabad. Then on Saturday, the location changed to Bandra. “At first Jaiswal and Surin denied their involvement. In fact, Jaiswal claimed Thapa had given her mobile and ATM card to him while she was in Allahabad with her boyfriend. On interrogating further, Surin confessed to the crime. However, the accused are not telling the police where they have disposed of the body, which is essential to the case,” said an officer. “We are now sure that even if we find the body we will not be able to find Thapa’s head as the two do not remember where they discarded it from the bus at night,” he added.