With rainfall lashing parts of the city on Saturday, investigators fear the search for the body of 28-year-old salon executive Kirti Vyas in the creeks of Wadala was going to be difficult.
The police have not yet been able to find Vyas’s body in the Wadala creeks, where the accused claimed to have disposed it off.
Vyas, a finance manager at the Andheri branch of salon chain BBlunt, went missing on March 16. After a two-month search, two of her colleagues — Siddhesh Tamhankar (28) and Khushi Sahjwani (42) — were arrested for allegedly murdering her. So far, the accused have accompanied a team from the DB Marg police station, where a missing person’s complaint was initially registered, to several spots to help locate Vyas’s body.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Dilip Sawant said, “We have searched most parts of the creek. But some areas are yet to be covered. A group of 15 local residents is helping us…it’s a race against time. Once it starts raining, it will be difficult to find the body.”
Tamhankar and Sahjwani had picked up Vyas from outside her residence on Grant Road in south Mumbai in Sahjwani’s Ford EcoSport on March 16. The police arrested Tamhankar and Sahjwani after the DNA from two drops of blood that had seeped into a mat in the boot of Sahjwani’s car matched Vyas’s DNA.
Fifty days after Vyas’s body was allegedly dumped in the creeks, the police began its search, limited only for a few hours during high tide. When searchers on boats couldn’t locate her, the police used drones without any success. An excavator was then called — at over Rs 30,000 per day — to clean the creeks to see if the skeletal remains had got stuck in something. “There was overwhelming dirt in the creek. The only moment of hope was when we found a bone that was sent to J J Hospital. It turned out to be of an animal,” said an officer.
The police also searched the thick mangroves around the creek. “But the mangroves are infested with snakes, scorpions, foxes and wild dogs. We roped in locals, who come here to catch frogs and know the place well,” he said.
The police have also consulted the Maharashtra Maritime Board on tidal patterns and current flow on March 16 when the body was allegedly dumped.