On Sunday, 18-year-old Syed Muzzammil Hasan, who allegedly murdered a 20-year-old model and aspiring actress a day later, posted a photo on his Instagram account, which showed him seated in a nightclub in Mumbai and looking away from the camera. He captioned it, “Never miss a party…Good for the nerves — like celery”. The police believe he displayed some of those nerves in strangling the model he had called home, bundling her into a suitcase and leaving it near a marsh before returning home to clean the bloodstains off the floor. A day after they arrested Hasan for the murder of model and aspiring actress Mansii Dixit, the police said on Tuesday that they were yet to ascertain the motive. Hasan was produced at the Dindoshi sessions court on Tuesday, which sent him to police custody till October 22.
Hasan was arrested from his house in Millat Nagar, a locality in the affluent Lokhandwala area of Andheri West, at 6 pm on Monday, the police said. According to forensic experts, she was hit on the back of her head towards the right side by a blunt object. “There are also strangulation marks. It seems she died due to strangulation and head injury,” a forensic expert said, adding that the final cause of death has been preserved until the chemical analysis results arrive. Samples of her nail, abdomen, spleen, liver and hair have been preserved for further chemical analysis.
According to the police, after murdering Dixit, Hasan took a cab to the Mindspace office complex near Inorbit Mall in Malad West, where he allegedly dumped the large black suitcase containing the body on a wide road off the edge of the mangroves.
“The deceased and the accused did not know each other and had met for the first time at his home on Monday,” said Sangramsing Nishandar, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone XI.
Nishandar said that sometime before 2 pm on Monday, a quarrel broke out between the two, during which Hassan picked up a small wooden footstool and hit Dixit on the head. According to the police, Hassan then strangled Dixit, tied her with a rope and stuffed her body in the suitcase. After that, Nishandar said Hassan booked an Ola cab, carried the suitcase with him and reached Malad between 3.30 pm and 4 pm. However, after alighting from the cab, the driver noticed that Hasan placed the suitcase at the edge of the road, got into an auto-rickshaw and drove off.
“The cab driver contacted the police control room about a suspicious bag left on the road by the passenger. We then tracked down the auto-rickshaw driver who had dropped Hasan just a few kilometres away. From that spot, he had again hailed a cab to go home. At that location, we got the address where the cab was headed and reached the third-floor Millat Nagar flat where Hasan was trying to wipe bloodstains on the floor,” said an officer at Bangur Nagar police station. The police have recovered both the stool and the suitcase.
Dixit had moved to Mumbai from Kota three years ago and had been modelling for minor brands, apart from doing bit-part television appearances. According to her Instagram page, she had also made an appearance in the TV serial Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum starring Karan Kundra in November 2015.
Dixit’s body was handed over to her mother on Tuesday afternoon after a post-mortem examination at the Siddharth Hospital in Goregaon. According to the police, Hasan studies in Hyderabad, where he also works as a freelance photographer, shooting models for brand endorsements among other assignments. A senior police officer said that Hasan was in Mumbai on a break and was alone at home on Monday when he called Dixit to his place. Hasan’s father used to work in the merchant navy and is now retired.
Professionals from different fields who had worked with Dixit on brand endorsements praised her. Fashion designer Veena Manglani, who worked with Dixit in Bengaluru last week on what would prove to be her final shoot, said that she was a sweet person and had a superb career ahead of her.
Make-up artist Vineeta Matta added, “Mansii was a beautiful person inside out. She was always on time for shoots and had no attitude problems. She was professional to the core. It is very shocking what has happened to her.” Matta added that Dixit was focused on carving out a career in modelling and acting. Photographer Rahul Lokare, who had worked with Dixit on assignments over the past five months, said, “I have shot her for brand endorsements. Seeing her as a model and then seeing her body in the hospital today was very scary.”