The Dutch mystery: Sharmila Shinde's friends seek for justification from police
Four months after her mysterious death in The Hague, Sharmila Shinde's friends redouble efforts to get the Indian police to track down her husband Avdhut, wanted by Dutch cops and on the run
With police showing no interest in finding Avdhut Shinde, wanted in the Netherlands for the murder of his wife Sharmila, her friends are urging senior Pune police officers to convert a non-cognisable offence into a First Information Report. They believe an FIR will ensure more manpower is allocated to tracking down Shinde, who has been on the run for four months.
mid-day was the first publication to report about Sharmila's mysterious death in The Hague on May 21. The next week, Avdhut turned up unannounced at his father's Malad home, left his two children there and disappeared.
While Mumbai police registered a missing person complaint and have been tracking his cell phone location, they have not been able to apprehend Avdhut even after the Dutch police declared him wanted for manslaughter.
In the weeks after her decomposing body was found inside the refrigerator of their rented flat in Raspberry Street in The Hague, Sharmila's friends approached mid-day to detail the abuse and assault Avdhut had allegedly been subjecting her to.
Avdhut Shinde, who has been missing for four months now
On Friday, some of her friends called senior Pune police officials, requesting that they turn the non-cognisable offence against Avdhut into an FIR for a cognisable offence.
"I called the Pune Joint CP (law & order) Ravindra Shisve, to discuss the matter, and will be meeting him soon to discuss the matter," one of Sharmila's close friends told mid-day.
Shisve told mid-day he will go through the case files and extend all possible help.
"We will surely help the family members or friends and they can feel free to contact Pune police," he said.
Sharmila's friends said Avdhut is extremely violent and, in a fit of anger, had assaulted her on December 23 in Pune. "Everything points to him, but he is yet to be arrested," said a friend, requesting anonymity. "We are seeking legal advice to have the NC offence registered against him in the Kondhwa police station on January 31 into an FIR with the permission of a magistrate."
Another friend added that it was unfortunate that the police merely filed an NC offence even though it was a serious case of domestic violence. "She was never willing to leave Pune but Avdhut forced her to come along to the Netherlands using the children as excuse," said the second friend. "We suspect her death to be a planned murder as he never liked her talking to her friends, especially those from her school days."
Avdhut Shinde and Sharmila Shinde
The friends said Avdhut used to keep tabs on her every move and that the couple had started fighting often since December. Sharmila had consulted a lawyer friend she met during a school reunion last year and had plans to get a divorce.
Speaking about how the police have not been able to track down Avdhut, one of the friends said he must be in touch with someone close, who could be sending him money.
Sharmila's brother Shashidhar Shetty said: "Initially, Avdhut used to call his father but now the police say he has stopped calling. I am planning to approach the Economic Offences Wing of Pune police as, a few months before Sharmila's death, substantial money from her account was transferred to an unknown account."
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