The sensational Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) suitcase murder case of September 25-26 may stand solved today, but the question of who is to take care of the traumatised child the woman had with her live-in partner remains unresolved.
The four-year-old boy is now in the care of the Indian Association for Promotion of Adoption (Matunga Road) as neither his father, who is the accused in the murder case, nor his relatives are ready to take his custody.
Witness to crime?
The police also suspect the murder was committed in the presence of the child, leaving him heavily traumatised. The report the railway authorities received about the boy’s condition from the Dongri Children’s Home, where the child was staying before the shift to the Matunga Road organisation last week, was not good.
The railway police said Shivam (name changed), the only child of Pravin Vasant Thackeray (29) and Roshni (27), was left without anyone to take care of him after the murder of his mother and there was no option but to send him to a children’s home.
“The child had been sent to the children’s home in Dongri,” Senior Police Inspector (GRP), CST, Surendra Deshmukh said. “His father and even his grandparents are not ready to keep the boy.”
Shivam also has a defect in one of his legs and walks with a limp.
Living in a shell
The police said before being sent to Dongri, the behaviour of the four-year-old suggested that he had shut himself from the world.
“The boy was under some fear and was not talking,” a railway police staff member said. “We could feel that he was upset and under some trauma.”
A mental health expert said the primary need of the child at this stage was emotional security.
“It’s a big trauma for him; in such cases, the patient starts feeling abandoned and he gets a feeling of insecurity,” Dr Armaan Pandey, a consultative psychiatrist from Chembur, said. “And if the child has witnessed the murder, then he can suffer from what is called post-traumatic stage. He may have severe trauma and it may affect his personality and mental health. He needs emotional security as the first step to his recovery. He first needs to be brought out of the trauma.”
Row and murder
On September 25, Roshni had a fight with Pravin, a painting labourer in Pimpri-Chinchwad near Pune, over his relationship with another woman. The couple had a heated argument and Pravin allegedly assaulted and strangled Roshni.
After she was dead, Pravin allegedly stuffed her body in a red trolley bag and with the help of a friend, Amol Karanjule, he took the suitcase to the Pune railway station, from where the two boarded a train to the city on the morning of September 26 and reached CST.
The bag was found abandoned at CST about 10 am on Platform Number 9, where the Sinhagad Express had pulled in a few minutes before.
“He (Pravin) took the Pune-Mumbai Sinhagad Express from Pune and then left the bag at CST with Roshni’s body in it,” a railway official said.
The police said the couple had been together since 2002, having fallen in love and settled in Pimpri-Chinchwad after fleeing Amravati. They said Roshni’s family had severed all ties with her after she ran away from home with Pravin.
The police said they had put the question of Shivam’s custody to Pravin, who is in judicial custody, but he refused to take on the responsibility of his son’s upbringing. The police said they then had a word with the parents of Roshni as well as Pravin, but they, too, refused to accept Shivam.
Discovery of the crime and its detection
After an abandoned trolley bag with the body of a young woman stuffed in it was found on Platform Number 9 at CST on September 26, the CCTV footage showing two people dumping the bag was examined but was not found to be clear enough for any kind of identification. As looking at complaints about missing women did not yield results either, the police focused their attention on finding the shopkeeper who had sold the new bag with a damaged handle. Finally, enquiries in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad threw up a result, with a retailer recalling having sold the red bag to a person who could have been a resident of a nearby slum. The police then made enquiries in slums in the vicinity and learnt about a missing woman in Hanuman Nagar, Pimpri-Chinchwad. The missing woman was Roshni and her live-in partner, Pravin Thackeray, confessed to the crime.