The charred body of a 35-year-old police constable was found in a shanty in Santacruz (West) on Friday afternoon. The room was rented by a woman, Aarti Yadav, 30, who has been arrested.
According to the police, Dilip Borole, a resident of Kalyan, was first strangulated with a rope, after which the assailant wrapped his body in a mattress and set in on fire, in the room in Indira Nagar slums.
The Santacruz police, who registered a case of murder against unknown people, had picked up about 10 people staying in the area to help find Yadav, who was arrested from Goregaon.
A financial dispute between Borole and Yadav led to the murder, say police.
Borole was posted at the Santacruz police station as a driver between 2008 and 2013. He was later transferred to the Motor Transport department of the Mumbai police. A month-and-a half ago, he was transferred to Bandra police station, said police.
The incident came to light after locals noticed smoke and a foul smell emitting from the room. Since the door of the room was locked from outside, they suspected foul play and informed the police.
“We rushed to the spot and broke open the door, to find a burnt body wrapped in a mattress. We doused the fire and the body was sent to JJ Hospital for post mortem,” said Padmakar Chavan, senior inspector, Santacruz police station. “Borole was first strangulated with a rope and after he died, his body was set on fire. The rope found around his neck, almost burnt.”
The assailant fled with Borole’s mobile phone, identity card and other belongings, including his clothes, to conceal his identity, said police.
The phone was recovered from Yadav.
The body could be identified only after one of the police officers, who knew Borole, suspected it to be him and called in his family for confirmation.
“It is unlikely that a single person committed the crime,” said Padmakar. Police are also questioning the owner of the room, who rented it to Yadav.
Borole is survived by his wife and a daughter.