POLICE are looking for a 40-year-old woman and her friend after the body of her 15-year-old son was exhumed from a house they stayed in on the outskirts of Pune on Sunday.
The woman’s father, who lives in Delhi, had been looking for his grandson, Nicholas alias Nikku, for the past six months and had lodged a police complaint in December after being told by her friend that Nicholas had committed suicide.
The body was found in a joint operation by the Pune and Delhi Police.
The woman was identified as Varita alias Ritu, 40, a resident originally of South Delhi. Her friend, who is also on the run, is Yunus Ali, who belongs to Mumbai. Nicholas studied in Class IX in Sona Modern Public School, Khanpur, while in Delhi. Police said he hadn’t been enrolled in any school in Pune.
Hadapsar police station officials said Varita and Yunus had moved to Pune last year and were staying in a rented apartment in this locality since then.
In September 2015, Varita’s father Joseph Jaul had had registered a missing person’s complaint with Neb Sarai police station in Delhi, about Nicholas, who used to stay with him. Soon after, police said, Varita had called up Jaul to tell him she had taken Nicholas to Pune to stay with Ali and her.
Later, officials said, Varita had promised Jaul that she would come over for Christmas to Delhi with Nicholas.
“However, a day prior to Christmas, Ali had called up Joseph and told him that Nicholas had committed suicide and that his body had been kept at their home in Pune. He didn’t elaborate on the reason why. Joseph had immediately alerted the Delhi Police about this call and the purported claim. Since the call, both Varita and Ali had gone incommunicado. Police failed to trace them,” said Rajendra Mohite, Senior Police Inspector, Hadapsar police station.
Delhi Police sources confirmed receiving the missing complaint and later confirmation that Nicholas was staying with his mother. When they got the second complaint, in December, they said, “We started investigation and tried to contact Nicholas’s mother, but her phone number was switched off. Police later questioned her Delhi-based relatives and friends.”
Sources added that raids over the past month in Pune had not yielded any crucial leads. On Saturday evening again, the Delhi Police team arrived in Pune and, with the help of the local police, managed to locate Ali’s friend from whose phone the last call to Jaul was made. It was this friend who told police about where Varita and Ali stayed.
“On Sunday morning, the police team reached the house and broke open the door. Upon digging the floor, police found Nicholas’s remains dumped in a pit measuring 6X3 feet under the floor, that was made of tiles. It was exhumed in the presence of panch witnesses. The body had decomposed badly,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone IV) Sudhir Hiremath said.
The exact cause of death of the boy will be established after autopsy, he added.
Varita and Ali have been booked for kidnapping, murder and conspiracy, along with other sections relating to destruction of evidence of a crime.