When foul smell started emanating from the drum, the accused sealed it with cement.
Mumbai: In a horrifying incident, an estate agent (38) murdered his niece (9), stuffed her body in a drum filled with cement, and dumped it into the Kasara Ghat on the Mumbai-Nashik highway. While the man, identified as Prakash Hari Rathod alias Haju, is still at large, the Uttan coastal police has arrested his wife, Anita Rathod (30) and relative Akash Chavan (22) for their involvement in the crime.
According to the police, the girl’s mother, a widow who stays in Aurangabad, registered a complaint on December 4 that her daughter had gone missing.
In the complainant’s police statement, a finger of suspicion was pointed at her brother-in-law Prakash Rathod, who had approached her saying he was ready to shoulder the responsibility of one of her daughters.
Under the pretext of taking care of the minor girl and enrolling her in school, Prakash Rathod took her to his home in Uttan near Bhayandar in October this year. After remaining in touch with the girl’s mother for over a month, Prakash Rathod went incommunicado, prompting her to register a police complaint.
Sensing the gravity of the case, SP Dr Shivaji Rathod deputed special teams to locate the missing girl. A team led by API Satish Nikam learned that Prakash Rathod had not enrolled the girl in any school.
Moreover, Prakash Rathod and his family were also untraceable. The police tracked Anita Rathod to her maternal home in Jalgaon. Initially, Prakash Rathod’s wife tried to mislead the police.
However, after sustained questioning, she spilled the beans and revealed the horrific sequence of events.
Instead of enrolling the girl in any school, Prakash Rathod had pushed her to do household chores and even assaulted her for soiling their western-style toilet. On November 7, Prakash Rathod hit the girl and strangulated her for a similar reason.
Later, the couple kept the body in a drum. But when foul smell started emanating from the drum, they poured cement in it and sealed it.
Four days later, Prakash Rathod, with the help of Chavan, hired a tempo under the pretext of transporting household goods to his native village.
Chavan drove the tempo and the duo threw the drum into the Kasara Ghat on November 12.
“The body of the girl and her clothes, which were recovered after breaking the cement mixture, have been sent for analysis and the reports are awaited,” said API Nikam.
Meanwhile, a case under sections 302 and 201 of the IPC has been registered against the accused who have been remanded to custody till December 16.