National

One held for Lonavala double murder

Police crack the case based on call records of assailants who stole victims’ mobile phones

More than two months after the double murder of students of an engineering college, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) finally made a breakthrough, identifying two assailants and arresting one of them.

Inebriated state

According to sources in the Lonavala, both assailants were in an inebriated state at the time of the crime on the night of April 3.

The mutilated bodies of 22-year-old Sarthak Wakchaure and his 21-year-old friend Shruti Dumbre were discovered in the wooded area near Bhushi dam bereft of clothes the following day, their hands tied behind the back.

A police officer told The Hindu that the accused had confessed that his intention was robbery. The nabbed assailant is believed to be a small-time history-sheeter with involvement in petty thefts, said the police.

The second assailant is on the run.

Investigators said they cracked the case based on the call records of the suspects who stole the victims’ mobile phones.

“It is possible that the assailants did not initially intend murder. When the victim [Wakchaure] stood up against them, the assailants got aggressive, given that they were already drunk. The fact that the girl had witnessed the murder sealed her fate as well,” said an official from the local crime branch.

The girl’s hands had been tied behind her back and a cloth had been stuffed into her mouth. Blunt objects had been used to inflict deep injuries on the heads and backs of both victims.

Both victims were final year students at the Lonavala campus of the Sinhgad Technical Education Society. Sarthak, who hailed from Rahuri in Ahmednagar district, was pursuing his mechanical engineering while Shruti who came from Otur in Pune was studying computer engineering at the Sinhagad Institute of Technology.

Families unhappy

Earlier, the families of both victims had expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace of the investigation and had even warned of staging a ‘raasta roko’.

To expedite the probe, the Director-General of Police last month formed a special team besides announcing a cash reward of ₹50,000.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 2:54:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/one-held-for-lonavala-double-murder/article18962101.ece

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