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Slumdog policemen

With no leads in the cases of rape and murder of minor girls at Cuffe Parade, local cops have turned the slum pockets in the area into their home base. Undercover police officers attached to the local arms unit have been asked to stay inside hutments in order to mingle with the crowd to dig up information about the killer.

Parents of Jagruti Patel
Hope floats: Parents of Jagruti Patel mourn the loss of their two-year-old daughter, who was found murdered on November 13, 2011, at Nariman Point.

The murders had taken place at Cuffe Parade and Colaba. Jagruti Patel was found killed on November 13, 2011, at Nariman Point. Karishma Chavan’s body was recovered from the same spot on January 18 this year. Angel Sharma was found murdered on April 19 in the sea near Maker Tower (L) at Cuffe Parade.

The family of Karishma Chavan
The family of Karishma Chavan is still inconsolable over their loss. Pics/Shadab Khan, Milind Karekar

“We are trying our best to solve the cases. Special squads have been working diligently and till date around 1,200 people have undergone DNA tests. The results of around 900 are out, all negative,” an officer from Colaba police station said.

banner in Cuffe Parade
Hunt is still on: Cops have put up a banner in Cuffe Parade to keep parents alert.

Desperate times
He added, “Around 120 police personnel have been deployed at various parts of the slums. A decision was taken at the senior level that we would plant some of our most talented officers into the hutments. We have given them rented premises at Ambedkar Nagar, Macchimaar Nagar, Shiv Shrushthi Nagar and Azad Nagar. Some are posing as salesmen of different companies, while others pretend to be fish sellers.”

Macchimaar Nagar
Macchimaar Nagar where some police officers are residing

Confirming the report, inspector Shekhar Tawde from Cuffe Parade police station said, “Our officers are on are making every possible effort to extract information. Some of them have been staying in these areas to get leads. We are carrying out this exercise so that can get more clues about the accused. It’s been around ten months and we still don’t have any breakthroughs.”

All eyes
The police officers have been asked to mix with the people and try and get as much information as possible from the area. Police have also established around 60 CCTV cameras with the help of traders in the area. Posters have been put up asking residents to be alert and protect their children.

Cops are also organising lectures at several primary schools to apprise and parents and children of the situation, what measures they should take and when they should contact the police.

Colaba police have also conducted DNA tests of fathers of the murdered girls. “Why would I kill my only daughter?” asked Vijay Chavan, whose daughter was Karishma.

Seafood seller Ramesh Patel, whose daughter Jagruti was the first victim, was also tested. “We are carrying out DNA examination of everyone. We don’t want to take any chances. This is a very crucial case for us,” said Shekhar Tawde.

Crime Branch is also carrying out a parallel investigation and has done DNA testing of a large number of individuals, including known criminals and also ‘beer man’ Ravindra Kantrole.  

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