The Dutch mystery: Don't know if Avdhut Shinde is dead or alive, says father

Updated: Sep 23, 2019, 07:15 IST | Diwakar Sharma | Mumbai

Exclusive: Madhukar Shinde, 72, finally breaks silence on his son who has been accused of murdering his young wife in the Netherlands

Madhukar Shinde. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Madhukar Shinde. Pic/Nimesh Dave

The 72-year-old father of Avdhut Shinde — who is absconding since his wife was found dead in the Netherlands in May — finally broke his silence in a conversation with mid-day. Madhukar Shinde, while claiming that he did not know where Avdhut was, said, "I don't even know whether he is alive or dead. He is not in touch with us anymore."

During the investigation, the Dindoshi police found that Avdhut had called his father on a couple of occasions while he was on the run. There has been no trace of him thereafter though. "I have been harassed for no reason by the cops. They visit my place at odd hours and grill me to know of my son's whereabouts but I have no clue about it," said the father, adding that he often becomes emotionally weak when he looks at his grandchildren. "They have become orphans. Everything has been ruined," said Madhukar.

"He used to call me from random numbers but now he has stopped calling after media reports revealed his whereabouts," Madhukar said while defending his son as an "innocent soul who loved his wife Sharmila".

Also Read: The Dutch mystery: Sharmila Shinde's friends seek for justification from police

Avdhut Shinde
Avdhut Shinde

The allegation that "it was a pre-planned murder is utter crap," said the Goregaon resident, adding, "They had a love marriage and they lived together for over a decade. They have twins. My son had sold off his car and deposited R5.90 lakh in cash into her [Sharmila's] account. Also, before taking his children and wife to the Netherlands, Avdhut had taken the School Leaving Certificate of his children's Pune school," he said, adding that Avdhut's had planned to live together with his wife and children in the Netherlands and that's why he flew down to Mumbai twice from Amsterdam and then went to Pune to meet his family. "It reflects his affection towards his wife and children and nowhere points to him being a murderer," underscored Madhukar.

"Why will a person fly his wife and children to a foreign country to kill his better half? If he wanted to, he would have easily taken the extreme step in Mumbai or Pune, why would he choose The Hague for it?" wondered Madhukar. He also said that Sharmila's brother and mother had no doubts over Avdhut's affection for her and they had thus not filed any police complaint against Avdhut. "Why are her [Sharmila's] friends rallying against my son Avdhut?" an agitated Madhukar said.

'Will visit Pune'

He added that he would soon visit the school in Pune where Sharmila was employed as a teacher and meet the authorities. "I will meet Pune Police to know how an NC was registered against my son in January when he was not in India," he said. In January, Sharmila had filed an NC against Avdhut who had assaulted her in December. Sharmila's decomposed body was recovered from the refrigerator inside her rented accommodation in Raspberry Street of the Hague on May 21. The same day in Mumbai, Madhukar Shinde registered a missing person's complaint about his son and daughter-in-law. The Dutch police claim that a revised administrative request has been made to their Mumbai counterparts via INTERPOL but Avdhut has not been arrested yet.

May 18
Day Avdhut Shinde returned to Mumbai with the kids

Also Read: The Dutch mystery: Sharmila spoke of divorce days before she died

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The Dutch mystery timeline: Curious case of dead wife and absconding husband
  • 1/17

    On May 21, 2019, Dindoshi resident Madhukar Shinde filed a missing person's complaint about his son Avdhut. Avdhut Shinde and his children Advait and Srushti had left from the Netherlands in a rush and reached Mumbai without his wife Sharmila, who was later found dead under mysterious circumstances. Sources told mid-day that Avdhut and his family had been residing in a city in the Netherlands for the past four years. However, things went dramatically awry in April 2019

  • 2/17

    When the kids asked Avdhut Shinde about their mother's whereabouts, he said 'lafda ho gaya hai, mummy next flight se aayegi'. The children followed his instructions and boarded the flight for Mumbai. They reached the city on May 18, 2019. Avdhut then informed his father Madhukar that he has returned to Mumbai. He went over to Madhukar's house, handed over his children and their luggage and left for an undisclosed location

  • 3/17

    The Dindoshi cops issued a Look Out Circular (LoC) against Avdhut Shinde to alert all international airports in the country. Besides this, the cyber team kept a hawk-eye on his bank transactions to track his movement and location. Meanwhile, the Shinde family contacted the Netherlands embassy and after mutual coordination, Sharmila Shinde's embalmed body was brought to Mumbai and handed over to the family

  • 4/17

    After hearing news of her death, Sharmila Shinde's mother Shushila's health deteriorated. Sharmila Shinde's funeral was conducted at Vikhroli. Sharmila Shinde's in-laws and children had come for the funeral. It was a sad state of affairs as the children were crying a lot

  • 5/17

    Avdhut Shinde is a senior executive with a well-known shipping company. Sharmila and Avdhut had been married for over 15 years. They fell in love while working at Maersk in Powai. She was in the human resources department, while he was at a managerial position

  • 6/17

    Sharmila Shinde's brother said that the Dutch police told them that she was murdered and her body had been found in a highly decomposed condition inside their flat. Sharmila's sister-in-law Harini Shetty (in picture) told mid-day that there were a few injury marks on her body. 

  • 7/17

    In Mumbai, the cops formed various teams and are checking all possible locations Avdhut Shinde could visit. The teams looked at ticket-booking counters at state bus depots, railways, airports as well as police surveillance to locate him. They also checked  the water-route in the coastal areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat

  • 8/17

    As the investigations were on, grim details have emerged about the trouble in their marriage. Sharmila Shinde was supposedly planning on divorcing Avdhut because of his overly suspicious, possessive and abusive behaviour. She had also filed a non-cognisable complaint against him on January 31, 2019, a month after he had left her with bruises during a heated argument

  • 9/17

    Avdhut Shinde had been allegedly suspicious of Sharmila since the beginning of their relationship. One of Sharmila's former colleagues from Maersk in Mumbai claimed, "Avdhut and Sharmila started dating in 2005. One day, Avdhut saw her with a common friend and got angry. He told Sharmila that if she really loves him, she has to marry him. Hence, she tied the knot with him in court on December 31, 2005. She never cheated on him, but he had been spying on her even before they got married."

  • 10/17

    Sources told mid-day that Avdhut Shinde was also possessive and insecure about Sharmila. "He had the passwords to her Facebook and e-mail. He had also logged into her WhatsApp on his laptop to spy on the messages she would exchange. He also had heated arguments over financial expenditures with her. Avdhut's core intention was to drain Sharmila's bank account and make her completely dependent on him," alleged the source.

  • 11/17

    Avdhut Shinde had allegedly logged into Sharmila's WhatsApp web account on his laptop to track her chats. "It was the reason she had switched over to another mobile application called IMO," a friend said.

  • 12/17

    Sharmila Shinde seemed to have had enough of this behaviour. Another neighbour in Pune alleged, "After learning that despite her honesty towards him, he had continued to spy on her, Sharmila once told him that she will divorce him if he does not start trusting her. Upon hearing this, Avdhut flew down to Mumbai from Amsterdam and met her. Avdhut Shinde allegedly continued to spy on Sharmila even after his return to the Netherlands. After reaching the Netherlands, he had been planning to call her and kids to live with him. She was never ready to leave from Pune, but she had to because she wanted to improve her marriage

  • 13/17

    Sharmila Shinde had sensed her husband Avdhut Shinde would kill her in a foreign land, which made her so scared to shift to the Netherlands that she made him sign an affidavit solemnly declaring he won't harm or kill her, her friends and neighbours told mid-day. Meanwhile, mid-day obtained a call recording where Avdhut can be heard reassuring Sharmila he won’t murder her

  • 14/17

    Anita Gehasse, detective of the Dutch police unit at The Hague told mid-day, "The neighbours are deeply shocked and horrified following the mysterious death. They have placed bouquets at the entrance to the house where Sharmila lived with her husband and children." When asked if there was any injury mark on her body, Gehasse said that they cannot reveal anything. 

  • 15/17

    Sharmila Shinde and the children ended up moving to the Netherlands. She was found dead in the home they shared a week later. While the Mumbai police has not been successful in locating Avdhut Shinde, it has been revealed that Sharmila's decaying body was recovered from the refrigerator of the rented house she resided in with Avdhut and their children. The Dutch police neither confirmed nor denied this

  • 16/17

    The Mumbai crime branch recorded the statements of Shinde family but no concrete information has come out of those. Avdhut is supposedly extremely religious. Soon after handing over his kids to Madhukar, Avdhut had left for Janubai temple. After that, he has been making temple runs in Nashik, Solapur, Ganpatipule and Kolhapur and allegedly makes random calls to him from unknown numbers. The investigation in the matter has slowed down for now with the Mumbai police awaiting revised administrative orders from the Dutch cops regarding Avdhut's arrest

  • 17/17

    In September 2019, the 72-year-old father of Avdhut Shinde finally broke his silence in a conversation with mid-day. Madhukar Shinde, while claiming that he did not know where Avdhut was, said that he doesn't know whether Avdhut is alive or dead as he was not in touch with them anymore. Madhukar Shinde said that cops were harassing him by visiting his place at odd hours and grilling him to know of Avdhut's whereabouts. Shinde believes that his son loved his wife and he is not guilty

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