The Mumbai Police Crime Branch has identified 15 to 20 key witnesses against the suspects arrested in the Arun Tikku and Karan Kakad murder cases,sources revealed on Friday. So far,we have identified 15 to 20 witnesses whose testimonies will strengthen our case against the accused in the two murders. In such well-planned murders,the number of key witnesses is usually not high,but their statements are crucial to establishing the sequence of events, said a senior Crime Branch officer.
Sources revealed that one of these key witnesses was a man whose call to police had led them to discover Arun Tikkus body at his son Anujs apartment in Samarth Aangan building in Lokhandwala,Andheri (West) on April 7.
This witness spotted Tikku through a window when he appeared to be struggling for help. The witness went up to the apartment,where he was let in by a man,and found another man lying on a bed with bloodstains on the feet. Suspecting foul play,the witness exited the flat and locked it from outside,before calling police,they said.
By the time police entered the flat,the two men had escaped through a duct and Tikkus body was found in a bathroom with stab wounds on the chest and stomach. The two men have been identified as Dhananjay Shinde and Manoj Gajkosh,who have been arrested by the Crime Branch.
Other witnesses would include residents of Oberoi Springs tower in Lokhandwala,where murder victim Karan Kakad and model Simran Sood who is a suspect in the case used to stay in separate apartments.
The Crime Branch will also call in German national Nivis Ligenza,who is currently abroad,for questioning in the case,said officers.
According to the Crime Branch,the main accused in the two cases,Vijay Palande,had convinced Anuj Tikku to lease out his apartment to Ligenza. Palande is believed to have claimed Ligenza was attached to the German consulate. Ligenza,police say,was actually married to Palande. A lease for two years was registered in Bandra-Kurla Complex on March 15 and Rs 5 lakh was to be paid as deposit and Rs 30,000 as monthly rent,they said.
We will establish contact with Ligenza,who is out of the country,and will call her for questioning, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection) Nisar Tamboli.
Meanwhile,a Metropolitan Magistrate court on Friday remanded arrested stock market analyst Gautam Vora in judicial custody till May 11.
Vora was arrested by the Crime Branch on Monday for allegedly aiding Palande during the latters brief escape from police custody on April 10.
After he was remanded in judicial custody,Vora moved a bail application through his lawyer,which will be heard on April 30. According to the prosecution,Vora,who knew Simran Sood,had helped Palande check into a hotel in south Mumbai after he fled from custody and before he was arrested again. Vora also allegedly bought clothes for Palande to change and had attempted to arrange for Palandes exit out of the country.
Palande had escaped from police custody on April 10 and had approached Vora,who helped him with shelter and food. Vora also swiped his credit card to buy clothes for Palande, the prosecution had told the court.