April 1, 2021 1:49:26 am
The Mumbai Police, in its chargesheet into the Khar New Year’s Eve party murder case filed on Tuesday, has relied on statements of witnesses to show that accused Shree Jogdhankar (22) gave different reasons to various people on how he sustained serious injuries on the night of the incident.
The statements include those of a 42-year-old real estate agent and his friend – a 35-year-old football coach – who had seen Jogdhankar walking on a street in Khar and offered help, as they noticed bloodstains on his shirt.
In the chargesheet, the police have claimed that forensic evidence shows bloodstains belonging to the 19-year-old victim, Jhanvi Kukreja, were found on the shirt of Jogdhankar and the bedsheet where co-accused Diya Padalkar (19) had laid down following the murder.
The police have alleged that Kukreja, who was close to Jogdhankar, was upset with his proximity to Padalkar at the party. This led to an argument, following which she was assaulted and sustained 48 injuries, before being found dead on the ground floor of the building where the party was taking place.
The two men claimed to have approached the police after they read about the alleged murder the next day and identified Jogdhankar to be the man they had seen around 2 am on January 1 on a road near the building where the murder took place.
According to their statements, they were headed to Goregaon to pick up the 35-year-old’s sister from a party. When they were on 14th road in Khar, they saw a man, wearing jeans and a torn white shirt that had bloodstains, stumble while walking.
When they asked him if he was fine, Jogdhankar had reportedly said “yes”. “When we asked him about his torn shirt and blood on it and his face, he told us, ‘Ye mera khoon nahi hai’,” the men told the police. They further said that they realised that Jogdhankar had consumed alcohol and thought he may have sustained injuries during a fight at a party.
Others whose statements are included in the chargesheet are Jogdhankar’s friends whose home he visited after the incident. When they asked him about his injuries, he told them that he did not remember how he had sustained them. He told one of his friends that he had fallen off the stairs while trying to save Padalkar from falling.
At Sion hospital, where he was taken by his friends, a doctor who examined him around 3 am had told the police: “He said he had consumed alcohol and fallen on the road at Mahim around midnight. He claimed that he suffered injuries on his head and hands due to the fall.” He added that Jogdhankar did not reveal the injuries on his back.
The chief medical officer of the hospital also told the police that after giving him first aid, he sent Jogdhankar to the surgery department. “During treatment, he asked me why it was taking so long. He then told me that he knows someone in Delhi and began making a call from his cellphone,” the statement said. It added that while Jogdhankar was drunk, he was coherent and his behaviour was “aggressive”.
The police have also relied on one of the attendees of the party, who spoke of two instances from the last few years, when he had seen Jogdhankar getting into a scuffle. The attendee also said that while he left the Khar party post midnight, Jogdhankar called him at 2.05 am and said that something had happened to Kukreja and asked him to find out.
The attendee then called his brother, who was at the party. The witness told the police that later, when he met Jogdhankar at the hospital, he told him that he had fallen off the stairs.
During his medical examination after his arrest on January 4, Jogdhankar had told officials that he had fallen down the stairs but does not remember how he fell, got into a vehicle and received stitches at Sion hospital. This examination had found 10 injuries – most of them abrasions – on him. One grievous injury – a fracture of ribs – was also noted. The doctors had noted that the injuries may have been caused due to road accident but sought for circumstantial evidence to be looked into.
During his bail hearing last month before the sessions court, Jogdhankar had claimed that he was assaulted by someone at the party and that the police were shielding the real culprits.
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