Sakinaka case: Financial dispute between accused and victim led to sex assault, murder, says police

A postmortem conducted on the deceased at J J Hospital had stated that there was evidence the victim had been pierced with an object.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale on Monday said the accused and the victim in the Sakinaka murder case were known to each other and a financial dispute between them led to the sexual assault and murder of the 32-year-old woman.

Nagrale said the accused had confessed to his crime, and that there was nothing so far in the police investigation to indicate that the crime was premeditated.

The 32-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and an unknown object was inserted in her private parts on Thursday night. She succumbed to her injuries in a hospital on Saturday. The Mumbai Police arrested the accused, identified as Mohan Chouhan, on Friday evening and initially booked him for rape. After the woman succumbed to her injuries, murder was added to the FIR.
Nagrale said that the victim and accused were known to each other and had met multiple times earlier. ”

During investigation, we have learnt that they had met four to five times in the past. There was some monetary dispute and the victim was demanding something from him, over which there was a verbal argument, after which the incident took place,” he said.

Both the victim and the accused are homeless and stay on the same stretch of road in Sakinaka.

The accused hails from Jaunpur in UP and worked as a tempo driver. The police said they had not found any criminal record against him in Maharashtra. They are trying to find out if Chouhan had committed any crime in UP.

The woman had been staying with her mother for eight years after her husband left her. However, after a quarrel, she walked out of her mother’s home, leaving her three daughters in their grandmother’s care. She was living on the streets since then.

Officials said that around 2.55 am on Friday, there was a verbal argument between Chouhan and the victim, following which the accused started assaulting her on the footpath near SJ film studio at Khairane road in Sakinaka.

“After she fell unconscious, the accused took her inside the tempo, where he allegedly sexually assaulted her and killed her by inserting a sharp object inside her private parts,” said an officer.

A few hours after committing the crime, Chouhan went to his sister’s house at Sangharsh Nagar in Andheri.

The police said the accused took a bath and washed his bloodstained clothes there, after which he put them in a bag and told his sister that he was going to Uttar Pradesh. Based on CCTV footage, the police identified him and arrested him from his sister’s house before he could flee.

“The accused has confessed to his crime. We have established the sequence of events and recovered the weapon that was used during the assault,” Nagrale said.

The commissioner, however, declined to divulge the details of the weapon used during the assault, stating that it would hamper their investigation.

A postmortem conducted on the deceased at J J Hospital had stated that there was evidence she had been pierced with an object, as she had injuries in her genitals and abdomen and multiple injuries over her body.

The police said the accused was initially booked under relevant sections of rape and murder, and on Sunday sections of the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 were added due to the woman’s caste.

Nagrale also said that the government had appointed lawyer Raja Thakare as special public prosecutor in the case.

“The Chief Minister of Maharashtra has announced Rs 20 lakh for the three daughters of the victim,” said Nagrale.

He added that the SIT would complete the investigation in the next 15 days, and the chargesheet would be filed within a month.

Family members of the victim said they were worried about the future of the woman’s children.

“My mother is disabled and runs a vegetable stall, which barely makes enough for the house rent. That is the only source of income. I have my two daughters to look after and live far off in Thane district. After my sister’s death, her children have no other relative who can pay for their education and think about their wellbeing. I request the government to provide her daughter’s accommodation and sponsor their education,” her sister said, demanding the strictest punishment for the perpetrator of the crime.

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