The Mumbai Police might have finally recovered Sheena Bora’s remains from the crime scene at Pen, thanks to a Police Patil, who managed to recall the exact spot where the local police had buried the body in May 2012
While the Mumbai Police spent the past few days in a frenzied search for forensic evidence in the 2012 Sheena Bora murder, it was eventually thanks to a Police Patil in Pen that they managed to recover skeletal remains — suspected to be Sheena’s — from the crime scene yesterday.
The team of police, forensic experts and local villagers started digging at the crime scene around 6 am yesterday, but met with little success until Police Patil Ganesh Dhene remembered the exact spot where the body had been buried. It was eventually recovered around noon. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Over three years later, the man still remembered the exact location where the Pen police had buried the body on May 23, 2012. This comes after serious questions were raised about how the Pen police had managed investigations when they had first discovered the partly burnt, decomposing body in 2012.
Early on Friday morning, a team of police officials and forensic experts from Mumbai went to the Gagode Budruk village in Pen, near which Sheena’s body was found. The police had been trying to find forensic evidence in the case but had not met with much success.
Then they learnt of Police Patil Ganesh Dhene of Hetevne village, who was present when the body was found at the crime scene on May 23, 2012, and also when it was buried there by the police the same day. It was thanks to him that the police recovered nearly the entire skeleton — in bits — from the spot, after six hours of digging.
That’s the spot
While the Mumbai team (10 police officers, including an ACP, along with five forensic experts) reached the spot at 6 am, Dhene’s work started an hour earlier. He had already been intimated about the exhumation efforts, and he gathered five to six adivasis from the village to begin digging.
Local cops, S Magar and KK Mhatre, were also called to the spot. “Based on the spot shown by Dhene and Magar, we started digging. It was very muddy and we were slipping. It was getting very difficult as it was also raining very heavily,” said an officer from the Pen police.
The entire area had been cordoned off, and the media was not allowed at the site while the work was on. Police photographers were present there and took pictures of the whole process. However, it would be a while before they found anything. The team dug one trench, about five-foot deep, but found nothing there.
They marked that spot with a rock, and moved to another area, only to meet the same result. They had dug four such ditches when the doubts began. “We were losing hope, but were prepared for anything. We were in a mind to dig up the whole place, if necessary, and had even gone with lights, in case we would have to dig into the night,” recalled the officer.
They had started digging at 6 am, and by 10.30 am, had still found nothing. Then Dhene remembered the exact spot where the body was buried and led the team there. By then, villagers had also gathered in huge numbers to watch the goings on.
Around noon, having dug just a couple of feet into the ground, the cops glimpsed a portion of the skeleton sticking out. From this point on, there were non-stop flashes from the police photographers’ cameras, as the team slowly dug out all of the remains. While the bones were recovered in bits, sources said almost all of the skeleton had been found.
Top cops in Mumbai were notified of the success, and after the remains were packed in plastic bags, the whole team left for Mumbai at 2 pm. An officer said, “It is amazing that Dhene still remembered the spot. In three years, several things must have changed; monsoon season is on and several plants have also come up there. Because of Dhene’s work, the murder case now stands a very strong chance.
He is the real hero in the whole case, because without DNA samples, the case would not be very strong.” Dhene, who has been Police Patil since 2011 — his father was Police Patil before him — said, “I am happy that I could help in some way to bring justice to the victim. I remembered that the body was buried near a mango tree in 2012. This helped me identify the spot.