The police team investigating a murder case, after the sack-encased body of a 32-year-old woman was found in Mulund on January 22 morning, solved the mystery and arrested the woman’s 62-year-old neighbour, his daughter and son-in-law.
The murder unravelled into a sordid tale of an illicit relationship between the accused Ravindra Mane (62) and the victim Pratiksha Bhojane (32), which went horribly wrong. The police picked up Mane for questioning but he refused to confess to the crime. The cops later picked up his daughter Sakshi Khade and took her into confidence and she spilled the beans. In the process, Khade and her husband Santosh Khade were arrested for aiding in the crime.
The body of Pratiksha, a resident of Bhatwadi, Ghatkopar (W), was found sealed in a polythene bag, which in turn was packed into a white cement rug along with some clothing items at a bus stop where long-distance vehicles pick up passengers.
The body bore multiple stab injuries and the police had little to go by initially, besides a chit found in the sack with a mobile number on it. The mobile number belonged to a relative of the victim, who was able to provide the police with the victim’s address. The body was sent for post-mortem to Rajawadi Hospital the same day a family had lodged a complaint about their daughter missing from Bhatwadi area.
The Mulund police also contacted all police stations seeking information regarding a complaint about a missing woman in the area. “The mobile number on the chit led us to establish the identity of the victim,” said Ravidutt Sawant, police inspector of Mulund police station.
The police learnt that the woman’s husband had died two years ago.
“We learned that Pratiksha and her neighbour Mane were having an illicit relationship. Bhojane also did housekeeping chores for the accused and was demanding to be paid for her efforts and had been asking for a gold chain. This led to an argument, and Mane allegedly strangled the victim,” said Jivajirao Jadhav, senior police inspector of Mulund police station. The accused stabbed the victim to ensure her death.
When the police picked up Mane for questioning, he refused to accept his crime and added that he was a senior citizen and police could not question him beyond a point. Finally woman sub-inspector Randhwa of the Mulund police station picked up Mane’s daughter and took her into confidence. Khade then accepted that her father had killed Pratiksha and she and her husband Santosh Khade were accomplices in the crime.
“Khade told us that Mane had killed Pratiksha and he begged her to save him. She and her husband stuffed the body into the sack, took it by taxi to N S Road in Mulund and dumped it near a bus stop,” said Pandirinath Patil, assistant police inspector of Mulund police station. Mane, his daughter Sakshi and son-in-law Santosh have been arrested under relevant sections of IPC.