PRELIMINARY investigations into the killing of 14 members of the Warekar family by Hasnain Warekar in the early hours of Sunday indicate that the 35-year-old had planned the killings in detail, said investigators.
Hasnain is alleged to have slit the throats of 14 of his family members including his parents, wife, his children, his sisters and their children before hanging himself to death.
Thane police officers investigating the crime said Hasnain had invited his three married sisters and their children for a family dinner he was hosting on Saturday night, but had specifically requested that their husbands not accompany them.
“This was highly unusual. Hasnain has hosted several daawats before, but this time he clearly separated the men from their wives,” said Ayaz Warekar (38), Hasnain’s maternal uncle, who incidentally had been invited to join the celebrations on Sunday following the afternoon namaaz. The occasion was to celebrate the his elder daughter’s birthday, who had turned five on Friday.
Mujeeb Warekar, another uncle, said Hasnain had been unusually insistent that all his sisters be present together, the three married ones as well as the unmarried sister who lived with Hasnain and his parents in Kasarwadavli. “Usually it is difficult to get all the sisters and their spouses together, so one or the other couple visits used to miss the dawaats he used to host. However, this time he ensured that all the sisters visited sans their spouses. He did invite the brothers-in-law, but specifically told them to come on Sunday as a separate daawat was planned for them,” Mujeeb said.
Sabina, one of Hasnain’s sisters who lived in Koparkhairane, was somehow not inclined to make the trip to Thane. “Sabina was not inclined, but she gave in after a lot of persuasion. Look what has happened now,” a relative lamented. Mujeeb added that Hasnain had spoken to Sabina’s husband to persuade her to attend the party. “He even paid her autorickshaw fare,” Mujeeb said.
Sabina, her 16-year-old daughter Sadiya and two sons, Anas (12) and Ali Hasan (5) met Mariya, the other sister who also lived in Koparkhairane, along with the latter’s two sons — Umer (7) and Yusuf (4) — on Saturday evening. “They were to return by Sunday evening as the children had school on Monday. They went by themselves in an autorickshaw and their brother was to drop them home on Sunday. Who knew they would return this way?” said Sadaf, Mariya’s sister-in-law.
V B Chandanshive, Zonal Deputy Commissioner of Police, Thane, said the killing appeared well-planned. “The nylon rope that Hasnain hung himself with was new, and it seemed as if it was recently purchased. We are probing where it could have been purchased from,” the officer said. He added that the police is also probing how Hasnain was in possession of a knife used to slaughter goats.
“Prima facie investigations suggest that the accused had bolted all the doors of the house and murdered his family while they were asleep with a knife we found near his body. Even the windows were all shut,” said Joint Commissioner of Police Ashok Dumbare.
During the course of the investigation, officers were also told that Hasnain had “sedated” his family in the past. “A few years ago, Hasnain gave his sister, his daughter and his parents a solution given to him by a baba. They consumed the drink after dinner and woke up the following afternoon. We panicked when they missed the morning prayers,” said Anis Baharanal, a relative who lives in the vicinity. The family was hospitalised upon being woken up.
Chandanshive said that the police is not ruling out the possibility of poisoning and have sent samples of food and the victims’ viscera for further forensic examination. “It was brought to our notice that there was a case of poisoning earlier, and that he was reportedly responsible. We are inquiring with the family doctor and the hospital where he was admitted,” Chandanshive said.
WITH SADAF MODAK