The crime branch on Thursday claimed to have solved the murder case of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker Vasant Jhota, 52, whose body was found at his office in Dharavi on February 19.
The police said a woman, Poonam Sahani, 19, who was sexually abused by Jhota, instigated two men Mohammad Khalil Abdul Rasul Sheikh, 33, her neighbour and his friend Mohammad Talah to commit the crime.
The crime branch arrested Sheikh and Talah, 22, while the Dharavi police arrested Sahani.
Sahani’s 15-year-old sister, who was allegedly present during the crime, was also apprehended and the police are seeking legal opinion about sending her to a reforms centre.
Joint commissioner of police, crime, Himanshu Roy said, the accused revealed that the murder was carried out after he was instigated by Sahani, who had been sexually exploited by Jhota. Sahani told the police that she did this to save the honor of her younger sister who Jhota had set his eyes on, Roy added.
The police have recovered the murder weapon, a commando knife, minted by Sheikh specifically for the job. They also recovered a mobile phone, which Shaikh took from Jhota’s office.
Explaining how the murder was solved, Roy said the crime branch was tipped off about Shiekh and Talah’s involvement in the murder and swiftly detained them for questioning. Roy said Khalil revealed that Jhota was sexually exploiting Poonam by taking advantage of her poverty. “He would give her money and food grains in exchange for sexual favours,” he said.
Prabhakar Satam, assistant commissioner of police (Kurla division), said Poonam initially contacted Jhota in 2010, because she wanted to get her name included in the ration card after her family shifted residence.
Sahani told the police that Jhota demanded favours from her in return for including her name in the ration card. Jhota then asked Sahani to get her sister along with her, the police said.
Roy said after this, Poonam confided in Khalil, who lives in her neighbourhood, who later roped in Talah. The police said that on February 19, Poonam went to Jhota’s office along with her sister. Jhota allegedly took the girl to another room. Meanwhile, Khalil and Talah, who came on a motorcycle, entered the house. Khalil then stabbed Jhota thrice before fleeing with the mobile phone and Rs10,200 cash.