CA Kirti Vyas was strangled by colleagues within minutes of getting into car: Mumbai police
Chartered accountant Kirti Vyas, 28, was strangled while crossing a seven-minute stretch between Grant Road and Mumbai Central in her colleagues’ car, according to the police. The colleagues – Khushi Sahjwani, 42, and Siddhesh Tamhankar, 28, – were arrested on Saturday.
“On March 16, the two picked up Vyas in a Ford Ecosport from her home at Grant Road. She is seen sitting in the front seat while passing Navjivan society around 9.18am. Around 9.25am, when the SUV passed Saat Rasta, she isn’t seen on the front seat. They may have strangled her, pulled her on to the rear seat and pushed her into the car’s boot [the rear seat is foldable] within seven minutes,” said a police source close to investigation.
Vyas worked with a popular salon in Andheri as the manager of the accounts department. As she did not return home till midnight, her family lodged a missing person’s complaint.
According to the police, they arrested the two, who were in a relationship, as the DNA sample of the bloodstains near the foot mat of the seat next to the driver’s and car’s boot matched with that of Vyas’s mother.
During interrogation, the two allegedly broke down and confessed to killing Vyas, said police.
The source said after pushing the body in the boot, Tamhankar searched Vyas’s bag. He switched off the two mobile phones in it near Worli. From there, the two went to Sahjwani’s society, parked the SUV, and left for work. After leaving from office in the evening, they took the car and drove it to Wadala, where they are suspected to have dumped Vyas’s body in a creek.
The police have arrived at the conclusion after recreating the incident along the stretch at least five times. They scrutinised the feeds of more than 500 CCTV cameras from Grant Road to Andheri to Wadala TT. The timings of the footages when Sahjwani’s SUV was captured were put on a map along with the details of the tower locations of the suspects.
The motive is still unclear, and the body is yet to be recovered. One of the theories is that Vyas had given a notice to Tamhankar, asking him to improve his performance or get sacked. The notice period was to end on March 16.
“The search for the body took the investigators to four locations, one in Bandra and three in Wadala. In Bandra, their stoppage was more than normal making us suspect they may have dumped the body there. But as it is not a deserted spot, we focused on the three spots in Wadala-Mahul port trust area, where they halted for more than normal,” said another source.
A month ago, the DB Marg police had also visited the spot in Wadala, but did not find the body.
In her earlier statement, Vyas’ sister Shefali told the police that Vyas had seen Khushi and Tamhankar together after office hours, “She had told this to me, but she said she was not interested in their private matter,” said Shefali. The police suspect that when Vyas gave a notice to Tamhankar, he might have threatened her.
“We suspect that Vyas might have responded to it with a threat to make their affair public, which might have irked the couple as Khushi was married and did not want her husband to find out,” said an officer.