Killers start fire to make murder look like accident

Apr 12, 2013, 07:00 IST | Shiva Devnath

40-yr-old housewife was murdered at her Oshiwara apartment by husband's driver and his cousin

A 40-year-old housewife was found murdered at her Oshiwara residence on Wednesday night. The deceased, identified as Sushma Darekar, was killed by her husband’s driver, Pravin Kajve and his cousin Nilesh, who tried to start a fire to make it seem like she died after a fire broke out in the house. The two culprits also stole jewellery worth Rs 9 lakh from her person and her house, which was the motive of the murder.

Police and firemen broke into the flat and found Sushma Darekar’s body in the passage between the kitchen and the bedroom

The police acquired Pravin’s call detail records (CDR) and found that he was present in the vicinity at the time of the incident. Using that information, they nabbed him from his residence in Vakola. The police also recovered jewellery worth Rs 4 lakh from him. The driver later confessed that his cousin, Nilesh, had escaped to Ratnagiri with the rest of the jewellery. Ratnagiri police arrested Nilesh yesterday evening.

Darekar, who was the second wife of Sunil (42), had been staying with her husband on the fifth floor of Greenpark building at Patliputra area in Oshiwara. According to officials at Oshiwara police station, around 10 pm on Wednesday, they received a call from residents of the building about smoke emanating from flat no 505.

The cops alerted the fire brigade and reached the spot. There, one of Darekar’s neighbours, ex-firefighter Ghanshyam Vaja, helped the fire and police officials break open the door to Darekar’s house. Her body was found lying in the passageway between the kitchen and the bedroom. Cops rushed her to a nearby hospital.

The neighbour, Vaja said, “Since I was chief of fire department in Jamnagar, Gujarat, I helped fire officials break open the door. We noticed that a stack of newspapers and other things had been set ablaze. Someone had tried to start a fire to make it seem like the woman had died of burn injuries. The fire was doused within minutes,” said Vaja. Cops found strangulation marks around Darekar’s neck. Investigations revealed that jewellery worth Rs 9 lakh was missing from her person and her apartment. The police have registered a case of murder.

After probing further, cops found out that Darekar’s husband, Sunil had three wives. He mostly stays in Pune, allegedly with his third wife. He owns an advertising firm that takes contracts for ads on hoardings on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Sunil’s first wife and two kids stay at Vakola, officials said. The police also summoned him last morning for questioning. The two culprits plotted the murder knowing that Sunil would be out of town.

“Darekar used to work at Sunil’s company when they fell in love. When we checked the house, we found that her passport had Sunil’s surname on it,” said a police officer from Oshiwara police station. Darekar considered Sunil’s colleague Prabhakar Shobhan as her brother. “Shobhan, who was also in Pune when the murder took place, told us that he had called Darekar on Wednesday evening but she disconnected his call saying that there was someone at home and that she would call him back,” said Assistant Inspector Ravindra Patil from Oshiwara police station. 

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