The Surat police has detained Thai national Eda Wongprome (27) alias Ananda, who works at a spa in Vesu area of Surat, for allegedly murdering her friend, Wanida Bouson, 27, who worked in another spa in Adajan area. She will be arrested if her Covid test report comes negative.
Thai national Bouson’s burnt body was found on September 6 at her apartment at Gorkha street, in Magdalla area, with the front door locked from outside, leading the police to suspect it to be a murder. Police lodged a case of accidental death based on a complaint filed by her landlord, Nagin Patel, at Umra police station.
According to police, Wongprome, a resident of Rund Magdalla village in Surat, confessed to have killed Bouson for money to return home as her tourist visa was expiring on September 26. Bouson’s two mobile phones worth Rs 2 lakh and gold necklace worth Rs 25,000 were found from Wongprome’s residence. Police also found the key of Bouson’s front door, from her possession.
Based on forensic analysis, postmortem and confession of the accused, police concluded that Wongprome smothered Bouson with a pillow and set the mattress on fire.
As per forensic reports, the victim showed no signs of resistance or attempt to escape the fire, leading investigators to conclude that she might have been unconscious then. The probe also ruled out the possibility of fire being caused by electric short circuit.
Police collected CCTV footage from the neighbouring house and zeroed in on Wongprome who was the last to have entered her house on September 5.
Wongprome entered Bouson’s apartment on September 5 night and left at 4.33 am on September 6 . Initially, she denied having visited the flat but after police showed CCTV footage, she confessed to have visited Bouson’s house for a “liquor and hookah party”.
“Wongprome smothered Bouson with a pillow, due to which she became unconscious. She then set the bedsheets, pillows and mattress on fire,” said inspector ML Salunke of Umra police.
The accused told police that she lost money on a lottery run by Thais in Japan and had borrowed nearly Rs 7 lakh as there was no work during the Covid-19 lockdown during which she could not send money to her family.
Police Commissioner Ajaykumar Tomar formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by Deputy commissioner of police Zone -3, Vidhi
Chaudhari, comprising Umra police and Crime Branch officials, to probe the death.
Deputy commissioner of police Zone 3, Vidhi Chaudhary, said, “We took the help of a interpreter after Eda told us she didn’t know proper Hindi or English. But later we found that she could speak English when we questioned her directly and she confessed to having killed Bouson for money. Her tourist visa expires on September 26 and she wanted to return home. Due to the lock down, the spa was shut since April till mid-July.”
Police said Bouson was married and had a son staying with his father in Thailand. She was staying with another Thai national, Runghvitha Manikhad (24), who had gone to Bharuch on September 5 and returned on September 7.
Police said Wongprome had been staying in Surat for two years. She was separated from her husband and has four-year-old son who stays with her mother in Thailand. Her father died in April due to illness.
Salunke said, “Before lockdown, Eda was earning around Rs 2 lakh per month and used to send over 60 per cent of the income to her mother. Due lockdown, she started facing financial crises and borrowed over Rs 7 lakh from different people. She used to spend on expensive cosmetics, branded clothes and high-end mobile phones… She was staying alone and was paying monthly rent of Rs. 15,000. She had also stayed in Japan and had the habit of purchasing lottery ticket run by Thais in Japan.”
The inspector added that Bouson’s family members have been informed about her death. Deputy Director of FSL Surat, DB Patel, said, “The reports of viscera and DNA tests are still awaited and cannot say anything at present.”
There are over 169 spas registered with SMC, while 300 more are running illegally in Surat city. Women from Thailand come to Surat on tourist visas and work at these spas through agents, police said.
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