The police believe they have the dreaded South Mumbai serial killer. The arrest on Tuesday of a 22-year-old man, allegedly a homosexual and a psychopath wanted in a string of four murders committed last year, has led the police to make the claim.
The Marine Drive police nabbed Munna Salim Sheikh, a slightly built youth, at Haji Ali and are investigating whether he is responsible for the eight roadside murders of vagabonds since October.
A beggar, Shaikh came under the scanner because of his past police record, his unique modus operandi and his known psychological profile matching that of the serial killer.
Since October, the serial killer of south Mumbai has claimed eight victims. Sheikh is known to be a ruthless killer and a homosexual who craves active as well as passive unnatural sex. Sexual pleasure had been the main motive behind his murders.
The Marine Drive police had first nabbed Sheikh in April 2006 for having allegedly killed — with sharp weapons as well as blunt objects — four vagabonds in the Marine Drive area. Sheikh managed to get bail and had since been absconding.
A migrant from Uttar Pradesh, he was suspected to have killed a few more men in his native state. The police were investigating this angle when he slipped away.
According to the Marine Drive police, Sheikh had killed four people, vagabonds and beggar who were all drug addicts, between late 2005 and mid-2006. He had tried to dispose of or hide the bodies inside the crevices between the tetrapods lined across the beachfront.
But more than the number of body bags that Salim made the police collect the last time, it was his modus operandi that made him a prime suspect for the recent roadside killings, according to senior Police Inspector Ishak Bagwaan of the Malabar Hill police, who had nabbed Sheikh in 2006 and investigated the murders done by him as Marine Drive police chief.
“He is a pervert and a bit of a psychopath. He had killed four street beggars, drug addicts (all), in 2006, basically to have unnatural intercourse with them,” Bagwaan said. “Sheikh would have both types of homosexual activities with them, active as well as passive.”
Bagwaan said Sheikh lured his earlier four victims with an offer of drugs and would later stab them repeatedly after having active or passive unnatural sex with them.
Sheikh had also tried to burn his victims with the scrap littered across the tetrapod-crevices. The police got partially burnt bodies, making it difficult to identify them.