Mahim murder case: Cops face mammoth challenge of locating remaining body parts

Updated: 09 December, 2019 13:14 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Forensic team to begin crucial crime scene investigation at Bennett Rebello's Vakola residence and at Mithi riverbed today.

Bennett Rebello's residence in Vakola. Pic/Atul Kamble
Bennett Rebello's residence in Vakola. Pic/Atul Kamble

A day after the story of Bennett Rebello's murder tumbled out of his adopted daughter's mouth, the biggest challenge for the crime branch Unit V is locating the remaining body parts of 59-year-old Bennett Rebello.

In addition, the remnants of a contusion on the dorsal aspect (upper side) of the forearm found in the travel bag on December 2 led to forensic experts suspecting a scuffle between the deceased and the assailants.

Confirming the same, Dr. Rajesh Dhere, Professor and Head of the Forensic Medicine and Toxicology Department at LTMG Hospital, said, “Crime Branch will have to locate the remains soon. They could be on the Mithi riverbed or wherever else the accused might have dumped them. We will have to assemble the remains with the limbs. Only after all remaining missing parts are traced and matched with the body, can we conclude that the limbs and the body are that of Bennett."

Bennett Rebello
Bennett Rebello

Starting Monday, Dr. Dhere and his team of forensic surgeons will be conducting a crucial investigation at Bennett's ground-plus-one residence near Vakola Masjid, where he was brutally killed by his adopted daughter Aaradhiya Patil, 19, and her 16-year-old boyfriend in the wee hours of November 27.

“If the accused did not clean the place after the crime, we should find crucial evidence which can be used to recreate the events of November 27,” Dr Dhere said.

Bennett Rebello seen wearing the sweater found in the suitcase
Bennett Rebello seen wearing the sweater found in the suitcase

Owing to the possibility of a scuffle, forensic experts preserved Bennett's nail clippings. Any skin or blood embedded in them can be used to place the accused with Bennett on the night of the incident. "There are no eyewitnesses in the case. Forensic evidence will play a crucial role in nailing the accused. A forensic team will also visit the Mithi riverbed where the accused claim to have thrown Bennett's remains,” explained Dr. Dhere. Preserved DNA samples from all body parts will be used to match one with the other.

Dr. Krishna Kulkarni, Incharge Director of Forensic Science Laboratory, Kalina, too confirmed the forensic team's visit to Mithi riverbed. Scientists will also look for residual pesticide or empty bottles at Bennett's residence as the accused claimed to have used it on Bennett after stabbing him.

The accused's admission to have first hit Bennett with a bamboo, stabbed him and then sprayed him with pesticide makes locating the body parts even more important as these details will have to be corroborated.

On the other hand, on Sunday evening, a crime branch team conducted a panchnama at the crime scene. In addition, the accused were produced before a holiday court on Sunday. While Patil was remanded to two days' police custody, her minor boyfriend was sent to the Dongri children's home.

A crime branch officer said that they are yet to locate the remaining body parts.

Meanwhile, the Rebello family has not told Bennett's 92-year-old father, M Rebello, about his brutal killing. “We do not want to shock our father. He is too old and has a weak heart. It has not been confirmed that the remains are actually Bennett's,” said J Rebello, Bennett's brother. He claimed that Benett was divorced and did not have children. “We never knew about his adopted daughter. I have never even been to his Vakola house. Though most of the time, he used to be at our father’s house in Kalina village," he said.

Sources said that the senior Rebello had already given distributed his property among his children. Bennett’s two sisters are settled in Canada. And he himself was working in Muscat for 30 years as a sales executive before he returned to India. Bennett had sold his Kalina house a few years ago and shifted to Mira Road, sources said. He returned to the ground-plus-one chawl in Vakola a couple of years ago.

Bennett had a good voice
Crompton Texeira, the former sarpanch of Kalina village said, "Bennett was one of the many musicians in Kalina. He lived in Kalian for a while before he moved to Vakola. I am a singer myself, so I knew Bennett. I knew his entire family, brothers and two sisters. I met one of his sisters in Mississauga in Canada last year."

Texeira claimed that Rebello had met him at the Kalina naka just before Lok Sabha elections, "where he offered me chocolates and tea. He was well-known in Kalina, he had a good voice. He used to sing in local contests too. He asked me to join his local band but I declined."

He said that Kalina and Vakola residents were shocked at the news of Bennett's murder, "Yet it is his family, especially his father that people are feeling very sorry for. His family is decent and upright. They are extremely respected and well-liked."

With inputs from Hemal Ashar

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First Published: 09 December, 2019 07:12 IST

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