Eleven years on, the Kalyan Crime Branch is still investigating the murder of 21-year-old Snehal Gaware and hopes to find the accused. On July 20, 2007, the body of Gaware, a mechanical engineering student from Dombivali, was found stuffed inside the storage space of a bed in her bedroom.
Gaware, a resident of Ninad Cooperative Society, was a second-year student at Sardar Patel College of Engineering in Andheri. Few days before Gaware was found dead, she had gone on a trek and after coming back, she was home for a couple of days because she had some nail injuries during the trek. On July 19, 2007, around 11 am, Gaware’s mother, a teacher, left for work leaving the student alone at home.
In the evening, when she returned, she could not find her daughter. The police inspector from Kalyan Crime Branch, Sanju John, said Gaware’s slippers, her braces, which she never left at home if she was out, and one glass of her spectacles were found in the house. The mother checked her own phone to find a blank message from Gaware at 3.28 pm. She tried calling Gaware but her phone was not reachable. The mother called Gaware’s friends and her alleged boyfriend. But nobody had any information about her. The police suspect the blank message was sent by Gaware before she was attacked.
The mother then lodged a missing complaint with the local police station. Around 4am the next day, the mother noticed a water jar in the room of Gaware, which was suppose to be in the storage space inside her bed. The mother went to keep the jar back in its place and found Gaware’s body. Her hands were tied behind her back with a cloth and a towel was tied around her mouth.
Gaware’s gold chain and her mobile, a Nokia N72, were missing. The police found that the mobile was sold at a shop at Fort. With the help of the shopowner, a sketch of the seller was drawn up. John said the person who sold the phone is one of the main suspects and they are still looking for him.
During investigation, a general psychological test, polygraph and brain analysis tests were conducted on Gaware’s mother, father and her alleged boyfriend. The police also questioned an electrician, a cable operator and a domestic help, who used to visit her house. John said there was no sexual assault on Gaware and she died due to smothering. “We investigated with a few D gang accused as well, as during that time, the D gang was in the limelight,” John said. He added that there was enough evidence to show that Gaware’s alleged boyfriend was involved in the case. His phone had been switched off around the time of the incident. Few months after the murder, he went to the US for further studies. He returned few years later when his father expired.
On April 4, 2010, the probe was transferred to the Kalyan Police Crime Branch and on the next day, Gaware’s alleged boyfriend was arrested. He was granted bail later. John said the alleged boyfriend had earlier given his consent for a Narco test but withdrew it after he was arrested.
A year after his arrest, the crime branch filed an application in the Kalyan court to release the man, claiming that there was no evidence against him. The court told the police to investigate the case further. “Whenever the parents or the boyfriend are called to the crime branch, they turn up and cooperate with the cops,” John said. He added that no finger prints were found in Gaware’s room. Gaware’s mother has refused to speak about the case. She said she was trying very hard to recover from her loss and would not like to discuss it.