THE MUMBAI police, investigating the alleged murder of a 19-year-old girl at the New Year’s Eve party at Khar, have pieced together a sequence of events based on the statement of one of the accused, though some crucial gaps still remain.
Earlier the two accused had said they could not recollect what transpired as they were under the influence of alcohol. But in her latest statement, the 19-year-old girl, who is an accused and in police custody, has given a detailed account of how the fight broke out, officials said.
The two girls, both 19 years old and good friends, came to the terrace party at Khar at 12:05 am after attending the birthday party of the victim’s father. A 22-year-old youth, who is also arrested and in police custody, was not an invitee, but arrived as the victim’s friend around 12:15 am.
The terrace was divided into two parts and the trio, along with another girl, were sitting on one side. Eight other people at the party were on the other side of the terrace. The four were drinking, police said.
A while later, the 22-year-old followed the victim’s 19-year-old friend and made some physical shows of affection, police said. This upset the victim who phoned a friend at 1.32 am. The police gathered this from the phone record. They have questioned the friend, who has told them that the victim was complaining about the behaviour of the two accused. “… While still talking on the phone, she saw the two accused leave the terrace,” a senior officer said.
Perhaps with the lift showing no activity, she gleaned that the two had taken the staircase and followed them down. The stairway was dark. The police have found that the lights were not functioning as hardly anyone uses the staircase. On the landing of the fifth floor, she found the duo kissing, the girl has told the police.
At this point, a physical fight broke out between the victim and her 19-year-old friend and they started pulling each other’s hair, an officer said based on the statement of the accused.
At this point, when the 22-year-old intervened, the 19-year-old accused sustained injuries to her lip. “As per her statement, the 22-year-old and the victim then got into a physical fight and the scuffle continued till the second floor. The 19-year-old accused retreated to the second floor flat of her friend who was also the party organiser,” the officer said.
On the second floor staircase railing, the police found blood they believe came from injuries sustained by the deceased. “Either she hit her head on the railing during the scuffle or the 22-year-old bashed her head against the railing. We need to find that out,” an officer said.
As the accused girl was no longer on the scene, the police have conjectured that the duo may have tumbled down the stairs from the second floor all the way to the ground floor. “The stairs were dark and a lot of unused articles were kept there. We suspect they may have stumbled down during the scuffle,” an officer said. The police suspect this since the 22-year-old man who is well built has fractured his ribs and hand and has injury marks on his back.
“The deceased could not have caused him such injuries during a fight. We believe he fell down during the scuffle and injured himself,” the officer added. CCTV cameras outside the building captured the 22-year-old leave in an injured state. As per police he later went to Sion hospital to treat the injuries he sustained. On Monday again, the police took him to Cooper hospital for treatment.
The body of the victim meanwhile was found lying in a pool of blood on the ground floor of the building. It was only when a third floor resident came down with her dog to see off her guest around 2:30 am, that the body was found. The dog started barking loudly and dragged the third floor resident to the body, police said.
On seeing the body, the woman informed the security guards who then informed the police. The police believe the girl died between 1.45 am and 2.15 am. The Khar police later registered a murder case and arrested the duo who are currently in police custody.
The parents of the deceased girl on Tuesday afternoon met Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. After meeting the commissioner, the parents spoke to the media. “We are satisfied with the police probe. We have sought that the case be tried in a fast track court and ensure that no one involved in the crime is spared,” the mother said. An officer said once chargesheet is filed, they will write to the government to fast track it.
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