Aksa Beach Murder: Father-in-law and two auto drivers held

Almost a week after a woman was found brutally murdered in a gunny bag at Aksa Beach, Malvani Police arrested her father-in-law and two auto drivers who were hired as contract killers. Police said that the father-in-law, who was the prime accused since day one, was unhappy with his son's marriage to Nandini Thakur, which is why he hatched a plan to kill her. After the murder, he had escaped to his native village, which brought him under police's suspicion. All three accused have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

According to the police, during the investigation, the body of a woman found in the gunny bag was identified as Nandini Thakur, who was reported missing by her parents on December 11, three days after she was last seen or heard, at Samta Nagar police station. The identification was made on the basis of jewellery and tattoo.

Police primarily enquired with her father-in-law, Kamal Rai, 55, who said that he did not know about her location and was at his native place in Bihar, following which he was summoned for enquiries by police. Rai's behaviour and movements were very suspicious, said police, and a detailed probe revealed that Kamal was very disappointed and humiliated in the society after his son Pankaj married Nandini, who belonged to another caste. The couple was living separately and had moved in only during the lockdown.

Earlier, this month, Pankaj and his mother were in Bihar for Chhath Puja, which is when Kamal hatched a plan to kill Nandini. Enquiries in the neighborhood revealed that Kamal had spent the night intervening December 8 and December 9 with an autorickshaw driver, Pradeep Gupta, who too had left the city soon after. Police traced Gupta in Uttar Pradesh and brought him for questioning, wherein he revealed that Kamal had paid him ₹1 lakh to help kill Nandini.

Based on Gupta's statement, police learned that he and another auto driver, Krishnakant Singh, had visited Kamal's home on December 8, wherein they held Nandini and smothered her to death with a pillow. Following the murder, they stuffed Nandini's body in a gunny bag along with a bedsheet and pillow and then tossed it in a nullah at Borivali (West). Upon interrogating Kamal, he corroborated the statement and said he suspected Nandini of having an affair and always held a grudge, and was only waiting for the right moment to kill her since the last two months, said a senior police official.

All the accused were placed under arrest on Wednesday and booked under relevant sections of the IPC for murder, causing disappearance of evidence and common intention.

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