Doctor couple Sudam and Saraswati Munde, who are accused of running an illegal abortion and female foeticide racket in Beed district and who gave themselves up to the Parli police on Sunday evening, travelled through seven states and frequently changed their mobile handsets and SIM cards while on the run for nearly a month.
Produced in court last morning and remanded in police custody till June 30, the couple had changed 18 handsets and over 70 SIM cards before their surrender. On May 23, they hired a Bolero car (MH-23 Y 59) and left Parli around 11 pm. They were accompanied by car driver Parmeshwar Ankushe and Sanjay Soni, owner of Ashtavinayak medical store. Soni’s medical shop was attached to the Munde hospital premises and a quantity of abortion pills were found in the store.
The Mundes finally surrendered when they started running out of cash as all their bank accounts had been frozen. “They even took flight services five times to travel from one state to another during the initial stage, but later opted for rented vehicles as there was a high alert everywhere,” a police officer said. Besides the state, the couple travelled through Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand in the 26 days they were on the run.
They changed mobile handsets and SIM cards and kept moving from one lodge or hotel to another on a daily basis to throw the police off their track. Every time the Beed police came close to catching the doctor couple, they would change their hiding place. Though the police in all the states were alerted, the couple managed to give them the slip every time. They finally had to give themselves up because their bank accounts were frozen by the authorities.
“We are interrogating the couple and it’s too early to comment on anything right now,” Ambajogai taluka divisional police officer Swati Bhor said. “The surrender was anticipated as they had no other option, and they have been remanded in police custody for 12 days.”
Additional Superintendent of Police Shrikant Dhivare also refused to comment on the matter. A police official, who requested anonymity, said the couple would not use a mobile handset or SIM card after it was used once. “Dr Munde used to discard his mobile handsets and SIM cards after single use and was changing his hiding place very often,” the official said. “His criminal bent of mind is quite evident from his methods.”
The police yesterday received a call from a person claiming a foetus had been dumped near a school in Kothrud. On reaching the spot, the cops found a thumb-sized piece of flesh and sent it for medical test to Sassoon Hospital. Initial reports suggested the piece of flesh was of an animal.