The apparently mentally challenged youngster, whose body was found tied to an electric pole in Sector 13 of New Panvel on Saturday, was lynched by a mob of around 100 people.
That is what the Panvel police, who have now registered a case of murder, are saying.
“We were earlier misled by residents and a case of accident was registered; now it has been changed to murder.
Some residents have now informed to us how the youth and his accomplice had been caught trying to break into a parked vehicle.
The residents, frustrated at regular thefts of fuel and accessories from their vehicles, decided to teach the duo a lesson,” Assistant Commissioner of Police Vijay Surya said.
The police had earlier claimed there were no visible injury marks on the deceased's body, but some residents told the police the youth had been badly beaten up.
“Prima facie it appears that while the victim's accomplice managed to escape, the victim was caught by a mob of almost 100 people.
They tied him to the pole using a thick jute rope they found in the area. Once he was tied up, the mob lynched him to death.” However, no arrests have been made yet.
“Nobody has come forward to identify those present in the mob and hence we can’t arrest anyone,” Surya added.
Former Senior Police Inspector of Panvel police, Dilip Nalawade (who has since been suspended), had told Hindustan Times: “The youth was a beggar and mentally challenged. He was tied with a thick rope to the electric pole and hence we registered a case of wrongful confinement.”