Panaji: “She was looking very disturbed.” That’s how nightclub owner Nandan Khudchadkar — possibly one of the last people to have publicly seen perfume researcher Monika Ghurde — remembers his last encounter with her.
Khudchadkar (of Club Paradiso and LPK Waterfront fame) was with a friend, eknath Oraskar, sarpanch of a village neighbouring Saligao, at a Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) outlet at Porvorim around noon on Wednesday when he ran into her. Ghurde was found dead the next day, naked, with her hands tied to the bedposts.
Kudchadkar resides in Porvorim, close to the residence of Ghurde’s estranged husband, Bharath Ramamrutham. Khudchadkar says he had known Ghurde and her husband for years, but had not seen her in a year. “So, when she walked into Cafe Coffee Day, I said hello and asked her how her husband was. She said they had separated and were living apart. She said she would talk to me later and went inside. I could not see where she was sitting because I was facing the other side, with my back to her,” he says.
Oraskar, though, faced Ghurde and could reportedly see her. “He told me that she was meeting a man,” says Khudchadkar. The man, according to Oraskar was middle-aged, with a receding hairline. Khudchadkar says she “left within 4-5 minutes”.
“I noticed that she was looking very, very disturbed, and ran to her car and drove away.” He says there was no CCTV camera at the spot where Ghurde and the mystery man met at CCD.