It was around 6.30 pm on Monday, when visitors at Makhdoom Shah Baba Dargah spotted a suspicious bag floating on the Arabian Sea behind the shrine and alerted the Mahim police. On reaching the spot, the police team opened a white-and-silver stroller suitcase to find three dismembered body parts and a few cloth pieces. A case of murder and destruction of evidence was registered subsequently.
Three days later, Mahim police and crime branch officials, who are conducting parallel probes in the case, are yet to identify the deceased. Investigators say that 50 per cent of the case will be solved once the body is identified. But investigators have a difficult task at hand — police have found just a severed left hand, a right leg and male private parts along with a sweater, two pants and three shirts stuffed in the suitcase.
In a seemingly first breakthrough the case, police had traced a Kurla-based tailor from a label found on the clothes found from the suitcase. “We had sent a team and got the tailor (to the police station) for interrogation, but, so far, it hasn’t helped as the tailor claims that he stitches multiple clothes each day and would not be able to identify the person who bought the pants and shirts from him,” a police officer from Mahim police station said. The tailor, police said, was now trying to identify the buyer by checking his receipt books.
Meanwhile, crime branch officials have written to the sessions court, requesting it to direct the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to help them match the fingerprints of the left hand.
“The UIDAI officials are not allowed to share the details for which we have written to the court, and on the court’s direction, they will help us and share the details. If the deceased had registered for an Aadhaar card, he must have provided biometric details. If the fingerprint matches, then the deceased can be identified easily and his family members informed,” an investigator said.
Meanwhile, forensic examination of the dismembered body parts suggest that the victim was killed within 96 hours since the bag was recovered, police said. “We have checked the missing person records of all the police stations that have Mitthi river and the Arabian sea under their jurisdiction, but haven’t found anything yet,” another officer said. Mahim police has also sent out wireless messages to all police stations across the city.
Crime branch officials said they have released messages on social media. “We have sent messages to our sources and asked them to forward these to as many groups and people as they can, so that if a person is missing and his family members are hopeful about his return, they can come forward for identification,” an official said.