CCTV footage, security guard help identify teacher’s killer

Last goodbyes: Students gather outside Yasmita Salunke’s residence on Tuesday.

Last goodbyes: Students gather outside Yasmita Salunke’s residence on Tuesday.  


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CCTV camera footage and the statement of a witness helped the police identify the murderer of Bhandup resident Yasmita Salunke immediately after the accused’s suicide.

Salunke (37), a physical training instructor with Vani Vidyalaya in Mulund, was bludgeoned to death in the parking lot of Vaktratunda Palace building in Bhandup on Monday morning. Around 8 p.m. the same day, the prime suspect, Kishore Sawant, was found to have killed himself in the compound of his building.

Immediately after Salunke’s murder, the police viewed CCTV footage to try and get a picture of the accused. He was identified with the help of a security guard at the building, who had witnessed the entire incident.

Another security guard, who did not wish to be named, said, “We saw Sawant assault Salunke on the live feed and went running to the parking lot. We even tried to catch him but he managed to dodge us and ran away.” While the police were circulating the suspect’s photograph, they received a call about Sawant’s suicide at Kalpataru Crest building, which is 500 m away from Salunke’s residence.

“Sawant’s face seemed familiar and we compared it with the CCTV stills. To be sure, we also called the security guard who had witnessed the murder and he confirmed that it was the same man,” senior police inspector Sham Shinde, Bhandup police station, said.

Mr. Shinde said the motive behind the murder still remains a mystery. Sawant did not leave behind a suicide note and no other concrete information has come to light so far.

Meanwhile, around 100 students and alumni of Vani Vidyalaya gathered at Salunke’s residence on Tuesday to bid a teary adieu to their teacher. Her body was handed over to her family at 3.45 p.m. after post-mortem examination and the students had already gathered in the compound when it arrived. The school had also declared a holiday.

“I learned about the incident on Monday evening and it is still hard for me to believe that the one teacher who would always help every student is no longer going to be around,” Jay Chandra, a Class X student, said.

Jebish Augustian, an ex-student, remembers Salunke as one of the most popular teachers at the school. “Students trained by her in kabbadi won the first runners-up prize at a district-level match last year,” he recalled.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 7:21:02 AM |

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