Key eyewitness in Keenan-Reuben double murder case found dead in Mumbai

Mumbai police believe Bali, whose real name was Avinash Solanki, was murdered.

Updated: Aug 21, 2018 10:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Keenan Santos,Reuben Fernandez
In October 20, 2011 Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez were attacked outside a popular eatery in Amboli when they tried to shield their female friends from a group of eve-teasers.

Avinash Bali, 40, a police informer and key eyewitness in the 2011 murders of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez, was found dead in Andheri (East) on Monday morning.

Mumbai police believe Bali, whose real name was Avinash Solanki, was murdered. Police from Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) police station found Bali’s body in a room within an industrial complex at approximately 3am on Monday morning.

He was lying in a pool of blood and preliminary investigations suggest Bali was assaulted with a blunt object on the back of his head, leading to his death.

The guards at the industrial complex said the closed circuit television (CCTV) camera has been inoperative for at least 15 days.

“The DVR of the camera was taken by the technician for repair 15 days back,” said one guard.

The prime suspect in Bali’s murder is an old friend of his named Nilesh Shukla.

Shukla, a 37-year-old worker for a political party who was, according to police sources, arrested in 2008 under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance act case. Shukla is out on bail.

Bali was last seen alive by his family when he left home on Friday evening, around 7pm. One of his brothers recalls Bali saying he was going to meet Shukla. He didn’t pick up the phone when they called him around 9.30pm. “When he did not return home on Friday, we called him again on Saturday. One of his numbers was coming off and the other was continuously ringing, but was not answered,” said Dileep Solanki, Bali’s eldest brother. “We kept searching for him. On Sunday evening, we informed a few police officers whom he had helped with information in the past. A search operation was started by them and at around 3am, I received a call from one of the officers saying they have found Avinash’s body.”

Police sources said a bottle of imported alcohol and three glasses were recovered along with the dead body. Two of the glasses contained alcohol while one was empty. Bali’s death is not believed to be connected to Santos and Fernandez’s murders. Bali was a key eye witness and complainant in the double murders of Santos and Fernandez, which is currently in the Bombay High Court, pending appeal.

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 01:15 IST