Mumbai teacher, held for killing techie, looked for hitmen on Facebook, Google

Sep 21, 2022 04:49 PM IST

Police said Nikita Matkar, arrested for the murder of 29-year-old Priyanka Rawat along with five others, allegedly told interrogators that the worst that she expected was that the three contract killers will get arrested, not her.

NAVI MUMBAI: Nikita Matkar, the 24-year-old teacher at a private tutorial centre arrested on Monday for the murder of a 29-year-old digital marketing executive outside Panvel railway station last week, had been allegedly searching for contract killers on the internet for nearly two months, police officers said on Wednesday citing the search history on her computer and interrogation of the six people arrested for the murder.

Priyanka Rawat, 29, a digital marketing executive, was killed by contract killers that her husband’s girlfriend Nikita Matkar allegedly found on Facebook. She had been looking for them on Google, Facebook for two months
Priyanka Rawat, 29, a digital marketing executive, was killed by contract killers that her husband’s girlfriend Nikita Matkar allegedly found on Facebook. She had been looking for them on Google, Facebook for two months

The group of three men hired to kill Priyanka Rawat for 3 lakh slit her throat outside Panvel railway station at about 10pm on Thursday last (September 15) when the techie was on her way home.

Nikita Matkar was the first of the six people to be arrested in the case. The others are Priyanka’s husband, Devvratsingh Rawat (32), who was in a relationship with Nikita, Pravin Ghadge (45) who runs the private tutorial in Mankhurd where Nitika worked and the three men hired to kill Priyanka: Pankaj Narendra Kumar Yadav (26), Deepak Dinkar Chokhande (25) and Rawat Raju Sonone (22).

“The accused are in police custody till Thursday,” Zone II deputy commissioner of police, Shivraj Patil said.

A senior police officer familiar with the investigation said Nikita Matkar had been allegedly searching for contract killers for about two months on the internet. When she couldn’t find anyone by searching for them on Google, she moved to Facebook and eventually found a group, which also had their contact details.

Nikita allegedly told the police that she didn’t think she would get caught; she hadn’t even bothered to clear her search history on Google.

She first reached out to the gangsters on phone before involving Pravin Ghadge, her boss with who she had been in a relationship back in 2018 after they first met. “He took over the negotiations and met them in Mumbai to pay 2 lakh of the 3 lakh demanded,” the police officer said. On September 15 when the crime was committed, Ghadge also accompanied the three assailants from Thane on a local train while following the victim and kept the three updated about her.

To be sure, Nikita Matkar got into a relationship with Devvratsingh Rawat only this year. They had known each other since 2020 when she briefly worked in his e-commerce office as an office assistant. In August, Matkar and Rawat got “married” in a temple.

It is not clear how, but Priyanka Rawat got to know what her husband was up to. But she did not tell her family or her in-laws about it.

“But at one point, the wife threatened Nikita Matkar to stay away from her husband… Matkar was irked about it and hence planned the murder to live with him (Devvratsingh),” the officer added.

Police said Priyanka, a computer science engineer, met her husband, Devvratsingh Rawat, who had a master’s degree in business management, via a matrimonial site. They got married about four years back.

Citing the interrogation of the suspects, a second police officer said one of the three killers was tasked to carry out the murder, the second person was to be the backup in case something went wrong and the third person was tasked to advise them on the best escape route.

The three contract killers hail from the Malkapur area of Buldhana district in the Amravati division. It later turned out that they were already wanted in an attempt to murder case registered by Pachora police in Jalgaon district.

Police officers who investigated the murder said it was clear by the way the murder was carried out that it was a planned affair. They started looking into Devvratsingh Rawat after finding his photos with Nikita Matkar on his phone. Police said Nikita Matkar allegedly broke down during the initial interrogation.

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