Mumbai

Phone number on burnt chit helps police solve murder

Abrar Sheikh

Abrar Sheikh  

Charred body of Nallasopara woman found in forest last week

When a 47-year-old Nallasopara resident jotted down her neighbour’s phone number on a slip of paper last week, she unwittingly helped the Thane Rural Police solve her murder.

According to Thane Rural Crime Branch officers, the woman’s body, charred beyond recognition, was found in the forest along the Kashimira stretch of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway on January 16. All the police found were partially burnt pieces of paper, one of which had a cell phone number written on it.

“We decided to call the number, though we were not even sure if it was connected to the case. The number belonged to a woman from Nallasopara and we asked her if she knew anyone corresponding to the rough physical description of the deceased. We also described the bangles and anklets found on the body, and the woman told us her next door neighbour Nirmala Yadav (47) met the description,” an officer said.

The police contacted Nirmala’s partner Sachin Yadav (35), with whom she was living with her four daughters from her previous marriage. Although they were not legally married, she was using Mr. Yadav’s surname. Mr. Yadav identified the body as Nirmala’s.

Inquiries revealed she used her cell phone only to receive calls and did not know how to save numbers and make calls. As a result, she had written down the neighbour’s number when she was leaving for Pune for a wedding and wanted to keep a check on Mr. Yadav.

“Her cellular location movements showed that she had gone towards Thane instead. Her call detail records indicated that she was in constant touch with a Nallasopara resident, Abrar Sheikh (25). When his cellular location matched Nirmala’s on the day before her body was found, he became the prime suspect,” the police officer said.

The police got in touch with Mr. Sheikh’s family in Nallasopara and his relatives in his home town Gulbarga in Karnataka, where he was suspected to have fled. The police made it clear that he would be in a lot of trouble if he did not come for inquiries on his own, and warned his family of the consequences of shielding him. The pressure tactics worked, and on Monday, the police received a tip-off that Mr. Sheikh would be going to his Nallasopara residence.

“We picked him up from outside his building. While being questioned, he confessed to have murdered Nirmala. He said they were in an illicit relationship for around a year, after meeting when he started buying cigarettes at a small shop she used to manage. Nirmala had threatened to tell his family about the affair if he didn’t marry her, and so he killed her,” the officer said.

On January 15, as she was leaving for Pune, Mr. Sheikh allegedly called her to meet him near Fountain Hotel on Ghodbunder Road. He took her into the forest, strangled her, and burned her body using the clothes in her bag, investigating officers said.

Mr. Sheikh was placed under arrest and handed over to the Kashimira police. He has been charged with murder and destruction of evidence under the Indian Penal Code.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 10:31:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/phone-number-on-burnt-chit-helps-police-solve-murder/article26054475.ece

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