Mumbai: 19-year-old friend of Bennett Rebello's killers held

Updated: Dec 15, 2019, 07:30 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

Cops say third accused who worked with a pharma company allegedly helped pack body using bubble wrap and cellotape, before disposing it

Ali Mia Chaus being produced in court on Saturday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Ali Mia Chaus being produced in court on Saturday. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Unit V of the crime branch, which is investigating the brutal murder of Vakola musician Bennett Rebello, arrested a third person for allegedly helping the accused pack and dispose the body's pieces at different locations in Mithi River. The main accused, Aaradhya Patil, revealed his involvement, during interrogation, the police said. The accused identified as Ali Mia Chaus, 19, used to work at a pharma company, where he had learned the skills of packaging. Confirming the arrest, Jagdish Sail, senior police inspector of Unit V, said, "He was produced before Esplande court on Saturday and we have his custody till December 16. Further investigations are underway."

Chaus, a Class XII pass, was one of the good friends of the minor. The duo studied at the same school in Ghatkopar. The minor allegedly had a discussion with Chaus and two other friends about killing Rebello, around two to three weeks before the murder. He was upset about Rebello allegedly sexually harassing Patil, his girlfriend. "Chaus was also seen in the CCTV footage near the crime scene," an officer privy to the investigation, said. According to the crime branch, Patil and her minor boyfriend called upon Ali near the pharmacy company where he worked, on November 27 after killing Rebello. They first asked him to provide a chopper, but he refused any help. Two days later, on November 29, the duo met him again at Vidyavihar railway station, seeking his help to assist them in wrapping the torso. "Ali visited the crime scene. He stayed there for a night and also visited a grocery shop with both the accused to purchase bags," said Shahji Umap, DCP detection.

Chaus then helped them pack the body parts properly using bubble wrap and cellotape. "Chaus has some expertise in packing carton boxes. It was he, who suggested the accused get cellotape and jumbo carry bags to dispose of the body," a senior officer told mid-day. Speaking to Sunday mid-day, Ali's elder brother Mohammad Ibrahim Chaus, said, "Our parents died a long ago, and I used to take care of him. Since the last few days, there had been a change in his body language, but he didn't tell me anything. I came to know about this, only after the crime branch team took him for questioning and later arrested him." He added, "The minor used to come to our house along with his girlfriend. My brother could have helped them get rid of the body, but I can't believe that he could commit such a crime." The crime branch is yet to ascertain Chaus's role in the murder. "The circumstantial evidence indicates that he joined them after Rebello was killed, but we need to find out if he was also part of the conspiracy," an officer said.

Cops grill other friends of accused

The crime branch also recorded the statements of some of the minor's friends whom he had told about his plans to kill Rebello. "Ali was also the part of that meeting. This is one of the reasons we suspect his involvement in the conspiracy. We will be able to ascertain his exact role only after his custodial interrogation," an officer said.

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