Teen's body found floating in river; cops arrest her ex-lovers

Hoping to marry her ex-lover's friend, she had run away to his house in Kothrud, but after living together for a day, he refused to marry her; cops suspect both her ex-lovers were responsible for her death

A 16-year-old girl’s body was found floating near the riverbank at Sangamwadi bridge in Yerawada on November 10, six days after she was first reported missing from her house in Aundh. The police suspect that the girl’s death may have been caused by soured love affairs with a local youth and his friend.

16-year-old Harshada Dhamak’s body was found floating near the riverbank at Sangamwadi bridge on November 10, six days after she left her home in Aundh. Pic/Dattatraya Adhalge

According to cops, the victim, Harshada Dhamak, was originally from Mumbai, and had been living in Aundh with her grandmother while she was studying at Government Polytechnic College. The first-year student was in love with Deepak Sharma (21), a local tempo driver. Because of his profession and regular quarrels between them, Harshada broke up with him seven months ago.

“For the past month, the deceased was dating Ganesh Dhokale (19), who is Deepak’s friend and a final-year B Com student in a city college. She had wanted to marry Ganesh, and accordingly the two of them planned to elope and marry. Under the belief that they would get married, the victim left her house on November 4, and Ganesh took her to his house in Kothrud,” said Inspector (Crime) Rajendrakumar Vibhandhik of Khadki police station.

The very same day, Harshada’s mother lodged a missing person’s complaint with the Khadki Police, launching a search for her. Cops called her friends and checked her phone records and social media accounts, and learned of her affairs. But by the time she was found six days later, it was already too late.

PI Vibhandhik said, “The victim and Ganesh stayed together for a day, but the next day, Ganesh said he would not marry her, and asked her to return home. Worried that her parents and society would despise her, she went to Deccan instead, where she called her former lover, Deepak, along with three other friends.”

On November 10, the Yerawada Police found an abandoned body floating in the river with R50 in her pocket.Cops have been able to track the case this far, and are waiting for post-mortem reports to confirm whether her death is a case of suicide or murder. They even suspect that the victim’s lovers might have hatched the entire plan together, and are also investigating the possibility of sexual abuse.

Police Sub-inspector S Y Kamone of Khadki Police, who is investigating the case, said, “We suspect it was Deepak’s plot to defame Harshada, and on his direction, Ganesh might have left her. We are investigating this possibility. We also suspect the girl was sexually abused, but do not know who the culprit is. We have sought expert reports on the same, and are waiting to learn the cause of death from the post-mortem report.”

The police have arrested both her ex-lovers, Deepak and Ganesh, under relevant sections of the IPC comprising kidnapping (363), abetment to suicide (306) and acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention (34).

The duo was produced before the court of judicial magistrate (first class) and remanded in police custody for two days.

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