The Bombay High Court on Thursday rejected the bail application of Shree Jogdhankar, 23, booked for the murder of his friend Jhanvi Kukreja at a New Year’s Eve party in Khar. 19-year-old Kukreja was found dead in a Khar building on January 1, 2021.
Justice Bharati Dangre rejected Jogdhankar’s bail plea. Detailed order copy is awaited.
According to the prosecution, on December 31, 2020, Kukreja attended a party along with Jogdhankar and her childhood friend and co-accused Diya Padalkar, and a few others on the terrace of a building in Khar. An argument ensued between Kukreja and the two accused which lead to a violent scuffle on the staircase, where she was murdered, said police.
The police alleged that Kukreja, who was close to Jogdhankar, was upset with his proximity to Padalkar at the party. This led to an argument, following which she was assaulted and sustained 48 injuries, before being found dead on the ground floor of the building where the party was taking place, said the police.
In June 2021, a sessions court granted bail to Padalkar saying that there was no direct evidence against her. The sessions court had at the time refused to grant bail to Jogdhankar.
Jogdhankar challenged this before the High Court.
Special public prosecutor Pradip Gharat pointed out the forensic evidence which showed bloodstains belonging to Kukreja were found on Jogdhankar’s shirt and the bedsheet, where Padalkar had lied down later. Gharat argued that there was sufficient forensic and circumstantial evidence against Jogdhankar. He also argued that the chargesheet filed by the police supported the prosecution's case.
His bail plea was opposed by Kukreja’s mother. Her counsels Rizwan Merchant, Trivankumar Karnani and Gayatri Gokhale argued that it was a watertight case and that the bail plea was unmeritorious. Moreover, the post mortem report showing 48 serious injuries couldn't be justified by defence.
Jogdhankar’s counsel Satish Maneshinde had termed the allegations against him as a cooked-up story with a motive to shield the real culprits. His bail plea contended that “that there is no cogent material to substantiate the allegations of murder as alleged in the subject FIR against the applicant, as there is not even a single eyewitness out of the total 15 people who were present in the new year party nor the security guard of the building or any other building members, where the alleged offence of murder is reported to have been committed”.