ON DECEMBER 28, last year, Priya Naik mixed 15 sleeping pills in her husband Gopi Naik’s food. When her attempt to murder him failed, she again mixed 10 pills each in Gopi’s juice and milk the same day. As Gopi still held on, the 27-year-old woman’s paramour Mahesh Karale (25) administered him two doses of phenyl, smothered him and banged his head against the wall in the intervening night of December 28 and December 29. Gopi (30) was declared dead on December 29 at Thane Civil Hospital, where the duo left him before they fled. On January 1, Priya and Mahesh were arrested from Matheran.
Gopi, who was employed with Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), had married Priya nine years ago. They used to live in the TMC quarters at Gaimukh in Thane along with their seven-year-old daughter. The police said that Priya met Mahesh on Facebook two years ago. “The two have been in an illicit relationship since. They were recently seen together at a mall by Gopi’s relative, who informed him about it. When Gopi confronted her, Priya denied the allegations. He, however, started giving her a tough time at home,” said Inspector Vaibhav Dhumal of Kasarwadavli police.
Priya went on to confide in Mahesh and decided to get Gopi out of their way, the police said. Mahesh, a Central Railway employee and a resident of Neral, planned to eliminate Gopi by giving him a sleeping pill overdose. “Gopi had polio and would limp. They planned to mix sedatives in his food and later claim that he committed suicide due to his illness,” said an officer.
On December 27, Mahesh handed over three strips of sedatives to Priya. The next morning, she mixed 15 pills in Gopi’s food. After eating, Gopi started losing consciousness and went to bed. “Assuming that he is dead, Priya called her lover. But when they saw that there was some movement in Gopi’s body, Mahesh left. After a while, when Gopi woke up, he asked Priya who had come to their house while he was asleep,” said Inspector Nasir Kulkarni.
Priya then mixed 10 pills each in Gopi’s juice and milk at evening and night, respectively. As Gopi survived, Mahesh came to the house with an injection and a bottle of phenyl. “Gopi, in his state of semi-consciousness, could sense that he was being administered an injection, so he tried to get hold of Mahesh, who then smothered him with a pillow and banged his dead against the wall. He also beat up Gopi with an iron rod,” said Kulkarni.
Early December 29, after Gopi died, the two put the body between them in a scooter and took him to the hospital. There, they claimed that Gopi had met with an accident and they found the body on the roadside. “They thought that the hospital authorities would immediately handover the body to them and they would dispose it. When doctors declared him brought dead and said that the police would be informed, the two fled,” said Kulkarni.
The postmortem revealed that Gopi died due to a head injury and strangulation. “After enquiring with the on-duty doctor about the two, we brought Gopi’s brother Dilip for questioning,” said an officer.
Dilip, who was shown the CCTV footage of the hospital, identified Priya and Mahesh. A team was sent to Gopi’s house. Spotting blood strains all over, Kasarwadavli police registered a case of murder against the two.
“With the help of their call data records and informers, we located them in Matheran. They were brought to the police station and arrested on January 1,” said Dhumal. A court has remanded the two in police custody till January 10.