SIDDHESH TAMHANKAR, an accused in the Kirti Vyas murder case, used to regularly go for morning walks on the Bombay Port Trust (BPT) Creek Road, from where he and his colleague Khushi Sahjwani allegedly threw the body at a nullah near a cinema house in Wadala.
Vyas (27) had gone missing from near her home in south Mumbai on March 16. Tamhankar (28) and Sahjwani (42), two of her colleagues at celebrity salon chain BBlunt, have been arrested on charges of murdering her and disposing of the body at a nullah.
Police said Tamhankar had stayed at his uncle’s house, located around 100 metres from the creek, for around three years before he moved to Dadar. Intimate knowledge of the area was one of the reasons why the accused decided to dump the body at the nullah, an officer said.
“Moreover, private vehicles have to pay toll to use this road… hardly anyone uses this road as there is an alternate road, eastern freeway,” the officer added. The police, meanwhile, continued to look for the body on Thursday. “A police team is searching the mangroves and creek with a drone. If we spot anything suspicious, a team heads to the spot. Some teams are also using boats… The terrain of the mangroves is difficult. The area also has foxes, wild dogs and snakes. We are taking the help of local crab-catchers who know the mangroves well,” an officer said.
Moreover, the police have hired an excavator to remove dirt from the base of the nullah. “This creek has not been cleaned for a long while. There is a possibility that the body may be stuck in the debris dumped at the creek. We will be using the excavator to remove the dirt,” an officer said.
However, here, too, the police are facing a problem. With low tide prevailing for most part of the day, officers have not been able to move the excavator kept atop a sea vessel. “A lot of time is wasted waiting for the high tide… so that there is enough water for the sea vessel to move around,” the officer said.
Besides, crime branch units have fanned out across several shores to see if the body has been washed ashore. “Teams have been visiting several shores, including the local RCF, Shivaji Nagar to Alibaug and JNPT… There is a possibility that the body may have reached the sea, in which case it would be washed ashore,” the officer said.
Former principal scientist at Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Dr Vinay Deshmukh, said: “In a marine environment like a creek, where the process of sedimentation and silting take place, the decomposition of the body takes place rapidly. I doubt they would find anything apart from the skull and bones.”