On July 30, it will be five years since Darshana Tongare, a software professional, was hacked to death on her way home in Bavdhan. It will also be five years since her family have been waiting for justice and for her killer to be arrested.
The local police and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) have worked on several theories, questioned over 325 people and conducted six polygraph tests, but they have not been able to get a concrete lead.
Darshana, who at the time of the murder stayed at Suvarna Park Society in Bavdhan Khurd and was a trainee at the IBM in Pune, was stabbed near Maratha Mandir Hall near her residence on the night of July 30, 2010, by an unidentified assailant. The incident had taken place after one of her friends dropped her there. She succumbed to her injuries in the hospital hours later.
While the Hinjewadi police failed to make any breakthrough in the case, the Bombay High Court, deciding on a writ petition filed by Darshana’s brother Ketan Tongare, passed an order in December 2012 and transferred investigation to the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
Darshana’s father , Devidas Tongare, who worked at a Defence institution in Pune, says, “It is an open investigation and probe is still on. Police are working on various possibilities.”
Darshana had completed her B.Tech (IT) from College of Engineering Pune and had joined her job just months before the murder.
After the CID took over the probe, Darshana’s family members filed a petition in the court saying the Hinjewadi police had seized her cellphone and computer hard disc from their residence and also her friend’s cellphone, but the CID was not probing these aspects.
However, in what could be called a major lapse, the CID claimed that Hinjewadi police had not given them the seized items in spite of repeated reminders. Hinjewadi police had replied to the CID that they were still “searching” for the items.
Investigations had revealed that Darshana was using her brother’s mobile handset on the day she was murdered since she wanted to listen to music. This handset could never be traced. Police had suspected the murderer took away or damaged this handset. The CID had written to 19 mobile phone companies to get information about this untraced handset but could not get any clue.
During their investigation, the Hinjewadi police recorded statements of 250 persons while the CID questioned over 70 persons for clues.
The family members of Darshana had raised suspicion over some of their relatives. CID performed polygraph and lie-detector tests on some of these these relatives, two of her friends, including the one who dropped her, and even a rickshaw driver who had claimed that he had dropped her to place in Kothrud before she was picked up by her friend. The rickshaw driver’s statements turned out to be lies while no clues were obtained from the others. Police have even checked the possibility of there being a mentally unstable person in the area who attacked her, or whether robbery, revenge, love affairs could be possibilities.
Sources from city police said that a CID team was still working on the case, digging out every communication made by Darshana and her family, every possible digital record like videos, photos, text messages for clues.
“We have hopes that some day we will know who killed our daughter. That is all I can ask,” says Darshana’s father.