A year after Sandhya Singh’s skeletal remains were recovered from a marsh in Vashi, her son Raghuveer has surrendered to the police and has been formally arrested in the murder case. Raghuveer had approached the Supreme Court seeking bail, but the application was rejected last week.
The crime branch that is investigating the case had presented a confidential 20-point report to the court, listing out why Raghuveer was the prime suspect in the murder case. The report states that Raghuveer had been lying to investigators, his family and relatives about the whereabouts of Sandhya. It also adds that Raghuveer is a drug addict and would regularly quarrel with his mother over money.
Sandhya (50), sister of music composers Jatin-Lalit, and actors Vijeta and Sulakshana Pandit, went missing on December 13, 2012. She had reportedly left home to go to a bank in Nerul to deposit her jewellery. On January 28, 2013, two British birdwatchers spotted a human skull and other skeletal remains in a nearby marsh. Sandhya’s family later identified her remains. Raghuveer, who is the prime suspect in the murder case, had been avoiding the police since a year.
After the apex court rejected his bail application last week, the crime branch officials launched a hunt for Raghuveer. “Raghuveer visited the crime branch unit VI office on two occasions, but he claimed that he would only surrender before Vashi or Belapur court on Tuesday,” said an officer. Finally by 3 pm, Raghuveer approached the cops for the third time and was placed under arrest. Sources say Raghuveer was arrested based on the circumstantial evidence against him. He will be produced before a Vashi court today.
Raghuveer had been eluding the cops since July this year, as the investigators started believing that he is the prime suspect in the case. In July, he approached the high court in appeal after the Thane sessions court rejected his anticipatory bail. Contesting the bail application, the police had filed a 20-point report on why Raghuveer is the prime suspect in the case.
1) Raghuveer’s lies: Sandhya had gone to her brothers’ place in Juhu
On the day Sandhya went missing, some of the witnesses spotted Raghuveer chasing Sandhya, and the latter constantly trying to avoid him by saying ‘Tum mujhse baat mat karo’. Also Raghuveer had lied to the cops at the time of registering the missing person’s complaint that Sandhya was supposed to visit her brothers’ place in Juhu. Investigations revealed that Sandhya had no such plan, as whenever she intended to do so, the deceased would inform her brother in advance. Also a maid would usually accompany her to her brothers’ place.
2) Raghuveer followed Sandhya to the bank, says witness
On the day Sandhya went missing, one of the witnesses, who had dropped her at Abhudaya Bank, outside Nerul station, had seen Raghuveer following Sandhya on a scooter. During interrogation, Raghuveer flatly denied the incident.
3) Raghuveer went to a crematorium the next day
As the cops questioned Raghuveer and his girlfriend about the reason to skip a party, the couple gave vague excuses that they had no proper clothes and also they were not in the mood. On the same day Raghuveer had visited Kombadbhuja Crematorium in Navi Mumbai and could explain the reason behind his visit.
4) Raghuveer did not answer the door, the day Sandhya went missing
On December 13, 2012, the date on which Sandhya went missing, throughout the day, Raghuveer did not open the door — neither for the maid, nor when an electrician came to deliver a repaired appliance.
5) Pics of gold biscuits on Raghuveer’s phone
The investigators checked the contents and call records of Raghuveer’s phone. They found the photographs of two gold biscuits on his cell phone that belonged to Sandhya
6) Mom could have been murdered
When Sandhya’s husband Jai Prakash approached Raghuveer to inquire about Sandhya’s whereabouts, the latter told him that “Mummy ka toh murder hi hua hoyega”. When the cops inquired with him about his statement, Raghuveer denied having said so.
7) She is sleeping
On December 14, 2012, Raghuveer lied to Sandhya’s sister over the phone that the latter was at home and was sleeping in the other room. He said her sugar level had shot up and she was resting.
8) Lied to relatives
On the next day, Raghuveer informed Sandhya’s sister that she had been missing from home. When the relatives asked him if Sandhya had visited the bank, without verifying with the bank officials, he lied to them, confirming that Sandhya had indeed been to the bank.
9) He told the maid Sandhya was dead
Two days after Sandhya went missing, Raghuveer had even told the maid that “Teri aunty toh marr gayee”, laughing loudly.
10) Did not give keys to Sandhya’s flat to his father
On December 15, 2012, when his father Jai Prakash and Sandhya’s brother asked him for the keys to her flat, he did not hand them over. During interrogation, Raghuveer told the cops that he had not given the keys to his father, as he feared that they would find a Bong (filtration device that is mostly used for smoking herbal substances such as cannabis and tobacco) in the house. However, investigations with the other friends of Raghuveer revealed that the Bong was at Raghuveer’s house.
11) Birthday party at Sandhya’s flat cancelled abruptly
Raghuveer and his girlfriend had earlier decided to throw a surprise party for one of his friends, Apoorva Singh at Sandhya’s flat in the NRI colony Navi Mumbai. The two had confirmed the plan with another friend Anuj Sabarwal. However, when Sandhya went missing (Dec 13, 2012) Raghuveer and his girlfriend called up Apoorva and postponed the party claiming that they were in Karjat.
12) He didn’t tell his friends
On December 14, 2012, Raghuveer had tried to shift the party venue from Sandhya’s flat to his flat. Despite his mother being missing, he had not informed any of his friends about this.
13) He had no money, yet got drugs
On the day Sandhya went missing, Raghuveer and his girlfriend had no money on them. Despite that, they managed to buy a fresh supply of drugs. When Raghuveer was asked about the source of money, he could not give any satisfactory answers to the cops.
14) Went out with his girlfriend the day after Sandhya went missing
A day after Sandhya went missing, instead of searching for his mother, Raghuveer and his girlfriend went to Kharghar and consumed drugs.
15) We are high, can’t come
Whenever the cops called Raghuveer and his girlfriend for questioning, they tried to avoid the interrogations by pretending that they were high on drugs.
16) Sent relatives on a wild goose chase by giving vague answers
Raghuveer kept misleading the relatives who were searching for Sandhya by giving them vague replies and distorted information.
17) Frequent fights between Raghuveer and Sandhya Singh
Investigations revealed that there were frequent fights between Sandhya and Raghuveer Singh. In May 2012, Sandhya had even approached local police to register a complaint against Raghuveer.
18) He is a drug addict
Raghuveer quit his education in 2008, and since then has been sitting idle at home. He is addicted to heroin, cocaine and cannabis.
19) Rs 30,000 stolen from home
Raghuveer would often bring a female friend home without the consent of Sandhya and they consumed drugs there. At times, Raghuveer would arrange for the money to buy the dope, and on other occasions, the female companion would procure them for consumption. A few days before Sandhya Singh went missing, Rs 30,000 was stolen from the house. Sandhya suspected that Raghuveer had taken the money, and confronted him, following which there was a major squabble between the two. On that day, Raghuveer stuffed a pair of socks in Sandhya’s mouth to keep her from screaming.
20) Raghuveer Singh was in desperate need of money
Investigations revealed that Raghuveer was in desperate need of money. When the cops asked Raghuveer about how he managed his expenses, the suspect revealed that he had been surviving on the rent received from his father’s property in Bihar and Indore. However, when the police investigated, they found that though Raghuveer’s father, Jai Prakash, bought a property in 1996, he had not given it on lease to anyone since then. Also, Raghuveer had sold his motorcycle and watch in the past for money. As the cops scrutinised his accounts, they found only Rs 14.26 in balance.
December 13, 2012: Sandhya Singh goes missing
January 28, 2013: British birdwatchers lead the police to a skeleton in the marshes off Delhi Public School on Palm Beach Road.
January 29, 2013: Navi Mumbai Police identify the skeleton as Sandhya Singh’s on the basis of the materials found near the remains
February 4, 2013: Jayprakash Singh suspects Assistant Police Inspector Anil Behrani posted at NRI Seawoods police station of being involved in the murder as the API was in regular touch with Sandhya. All accusations turn out false
February 8, 2013: Pandit family demands the probe be transferred to Mumbai Crime Branch
February 15, 2013: Sandhya Singh case transferred to Mumbai Crime Branch by the home department
June, 2013: Raghuveer Singh held prime suspect in the case, after which he approaches Thane court for anticipatory bail.
July 23, 2013: Thane court rejects Raghuveer’s bail application.
August 14, 2013: Raghuveer Singh approaches High Court.
October 21, 2013: High Court rejects Raghuveer’s bail application plea.
November 12, 2013: Raghuveer approaches Supreme Court.
December 8, 2013: Supreme Court rejects Raghuveer’s bail
December 16, 2013: Raghuveer surrenders before the Crime Branch.