The police claimed a major breakthrough in the murder of a 24-year-old physiotherapist at her Vile Parle home in December, with the arrest of a 27-year-old man whose identity, they say, matched with the prime suspect captured on a CCTV camera.
Deputy commissioner of police Virendra Mishra told HT on Tuesday that Debasis Dhara was arrested from his village in West Bengal. “Dhara was arrested on suspicion. Things will become clear once we interrogate him.” Mishra refused to divulge details.
Earlier this month, the police got footage from a camera attached to a doctor’s house near the victim’s residence. Sources said despite getting the video a month ago, the police were unable to ascertain the man’s identity as he rarely showed up outside. The breakthrough finally came from a drug addict, who identified Dhara, also a drug addict.
Highly placed sources said the footage showed that around 1.18am on the day of the murder, a man wearing a white shirt and black trousers was seen walking towards the woman’s house, and 20 minutes later, he was caught walking past the camera in the opposite direction. “His movements matched perfectly with the timings when the woman was murdered,” said sources, adding, “that made him the prime suspect in the case.” Mishra said Dhara lived near the Saibaba Temple, not far from the victim’s house.
Police sources claimed the police narrowed in on him from among 175 people they picked up for questioning after the murder came to light on December 6. Dhara is from the Midnapore district in West Bengal, sources said. He was produced in a court that sent him to police custody till February 3.
In the wee hours of December 6, residents at Leelabai Chawl had noticed smoke emanating from the mezzanine floor of Shraddha Panchal, the victim’s house. She used to sleep alone on the mezzanine floor while her family slept on the ground floor. The door of the house was found ajar and she was strangled with her own jeans. The accused apparently tried to burn her as several burn marks were found on the body.