Hasnain Warekar was no butcher but he always had a cleaver handy. While talking about the 35-year-old, friends and neighbours said they occasionally used to approach him to assist during a ‘qurbani’.
“During festivities, people from the Kasarwadavli village would sometimes approach him to sacrifice a goat and it worked in their favour as he owned a cleaver,” said an officer requesting anonymity.
Even as Rapid Action Force and other policemen patrolled the crime scene on Sunday, investigators at the spot where Hasnain is alleged to have killed 14 members of his family before hanging himself said they were struck at the swiftness with which he appeared to have gone about his task, slitting throats — not once but 14 times — reportedly with not a single false stroke. The murders are believed to have taken place between 2 am and 2.30 am on Sunday.
Kasarwadavli village, located on the outskirts of Thane city not far from the hub-bub of Ghodbunder Road, was where the Warekars have lived for several generations. The village is home to large pockets of Konkani Muslims and members of the Agri community. “Hasnain’s grandfather too was involved in farming. His father was probably the first to have a non-farming job when he started working at a chemical company,” said a local who knew the family well.
A neighbour said Hasnain was somewhat shy and often did not make eye contact with people. One police officer said that a few days ago, when some local youngsters had been caught on suspicion of consuming drugs, Hasnain had intervened telling the police to go easy as any police action could reflect poorly on the locality.
Hasnain, who believed in ‘ayurvedic babas’, was known to consult them routinely instead of doctors, including for treating a sleeping problem he was reportedly suffering from. “He was a namaazi, very religious. But he had more faith in a priest curing him rather than a doctor. On one occasion, he even gave a ayurvedic medicine he procured from a baba, to his family, knocking them out cold for more than 12 hours,” recalled Danish Baharnal, a neighbour knew the Warekars for the last 40 years.
“He was usually reserved but after that incident he withdrew a little more into his shell,” he said.
Hasnain, according to the police, was employed as a senior accountant with a Sanpada-based financial firm. He reportedly drew a salary of Rs 60,000. The 35-year-old was also a big fan of television shows based on real life crime stories.
“We have been told that he would watch cricket and news, but nothing matched his zeal for real life crime-related programmes,” an officer said.
His relatives, including his father-in-law, bear testimony to his hospitable nature. Hasnain would reportedly insist that anyone visiting their village from Mumbai stop at his place for a meal. Sufiyan Jalil Patel, 48, father of Hasnain’s wife Jabeen, said, “In fact, because of his hospitality, people would remark that I have found such a great son-in-law,” Patel told The Indian Express.
Patel, who hails from Padgha in Bhiwandi, added that had there been any problems with Hasnain or within the famly, Jabeen would have confided in him. “Jabeen was pregnant and had been living with us for three months. She only went back three weeks back. During her stay with us, She did not utter a word about any problem,” Patel told The Indian Express.
He, however, added that Hasnain had changed a couple of jobs in the past few months and did not know exactly where his son-in-law was currently employed. “It is considered rude for us to ask our son-in-law where he is working,” Patel said.
Shocked and disturbed by the incident, relatives claim Hasnain had a hospitable nature. The only brother with four sisters, he used to regularly host lunches and dinner at his house to show his affection to his siblings. His house had a tandoor, and that was a big attraction, they say. “Saturday night’s affair was one such dinner. It was a small gathering but the tandoor, like all other times, was used for making Saturday night’s dinner,” concluded Ashok Dumbare, joint commissioner of Thane police.