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Solving Crime | Decapitated body at Antop Hill; head, thrown in Deonar dumping yard, still missing: How Mumbai police cracked murder of vegetable trader

On September 30 last year at 7:30 am, Santosh Jadhav, a local resident, noticed the headless body with burn marks and limbs severed, wrapped in plastic. He informed police, who hardly had any lead to proceed with the probe.

On September 20, a sessions court rejected Gaikwad's bail plea. (Representational/File)

It was a decapitated body, giving police little clue about the victim’s identity. But Mumbai Police crime branch cracked the murder of a 38-year-old vegetable trader from Solapur, whose headless body was found near the office of Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP), Sion Division, on September 30 last year, in just nine days, arresting a 45-year-old police constable and his wife.

Constable Shivshankar Gaikwad, who worked as a driver, murdered Dada Jagdale (38) as he suspected his wife Monali (35) of having an affair with him. Interestingly, Monali, who knew the victim from her school days in Solapur, helped Gaikwad dispose of the body.

After he learnt that Jagdale was to visit Mumbai on September 29-30 last year, Gaikwad decided to kill him. The decapitated body was dumped on a footpath in CGS Colony’s Sector 7 in Central Mumbai’s Antop Hill. The office of ACP, Sion Division, is only a few metres away from the spot.

On September 30 last year at 7:30 am, Santosh Jadhav, a local resident, noticed the headless body with burn marks and limbs severed, wrapped in plastic. He informed police, who hardly had any lead to proceed with the probe. A tattoo with the name ‘Dada’ on the body gave police the first lead.

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Subsequently, police found part of Jagdale’s hand along with other parts in an inflated plastic sofa-cum-air bed, which was wrapped in a bedsheet. They approached companies selling such beds but got no headway.

During the post-mortem, however, an aluminum plate was found implanted in the victim’s left leg, giving police another lead. Police approached its manufacturer, which said it distributed such plates in six states, but not Maharashtra. Police scoured for evidence in several cities across the country but a breakthrough still eluded them.

Police then turned to CCTV footage where the body was found. Their suspicion fell on a Wagon R with tinted glass and mud on its numberplate. The car’s plate had ‘police’ written on it. Witnesses also confirmed having seen the accused along with a woman in the car.

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Thereafter, police zeroed in on Gaikwad based on “technical evidence”. His Call Data Records (CDR) revealed Jagdale’s name. The victim’s Subscriber’s Detail Records and CDR were also probed, which led police to his residence at Akluj in Solapur district. Several calls were found to have been made to the victim from Monali’s number.

Jagdale’s relatives in Akluj told police he had left for Mumbai on September 29 last year to meet a friend but did not return and that they could not reach him on his mobile phone number.

After police came to know that Gaikwad was on leave, they went to his residence at Worli government quarters and detained him along with his wife and later arrested them on October 9, 2021. Jagdale’s mobile was found at Gaikwad’s residence.

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Gaikwad confessed he had called Jagdale to his residence and killed him using a sickle, which he threw in a sewerage chamber in Worli. He cut the body into pieces and used his own car to dump them in Antop Hill. He threw the head in the dumping yard in Deonar. He also tried to burn the body to destroy evidence.

Senior Police Inspector Indrajit More, of crime branch Unit-4 which probed the case along with other wings of Mumbai Police, said the head is still missing as it was thrown in the dumping yard where hundreds of trucks dump waste everyday. However, the victim’s identity could be established through FSL and DNA reports.

On September 20, a sessions court rejected Gaikwad’s bail plea.

First published on: 08-12-2022 at 23:03 IST
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