Parents of the deceased couple met and hugged each other. They said they'd planned to meet each other to begin a new relationship as in-laws, but ended up meeting in such unfortunate circumstances instead.
'Hardened criminal did it'
Sarthak's father Dilip said, "I was happy and waiting for his examination to end, as he was going to start working soon. My son has been killed very brutally; only a hardened criminal can commit such an attack. Why did my son leave me? I was waiting for the day when he would step into my shoes and earn money," he added.
Sarthak's childhood friends Shubham Pandit and Roshan Durgude said, "Sarthak was an artist and had made a couple of documentary films. He was keen on joining the Army and had recently appeared for SSB examination too."
Chosen by IT firm
Shruti's maternal uncle Santosh Naikwadi said, "Shruti was the eldest daughter and both her parents are teachers. She was one of the most educated girls in our family. She had also been selected to work for a Hinjewadi-based IT company in a campus interview. She was to start the job by next month." Naikwadi added that the incident could have been averted had the college alerted them in time.
Sarthak was a final year mechanical engineering student, while Shruti was a final year student of computer science at the Sinhgad Institute of Technology situated at Lonavala.
MS Gaikwad, principal of the institute, said, "We are saddened by the incident. Shruti was staying at our campus hostel while Sarthak was residing in a rental flat.
Rape ruled out
Meanwhile, a post-mortem of the bodies performed at Sassoon General hospital mentions that the couple died by being hit on their head with an object. A doctor who conducted the procedure said, "The death is due to head injuries. The girl's face was gagged and her hands were also tied, but we have ruled out the rape. The body might have turned black and blue because of sunburn."
The police are continuing their investigations into the suspected robbery and murder case.
Chandrakant Jadhav, senior inspector of Lonavla city police station said, "The incident might have taken place on Sunday night, as the duo were there at 7.30 pm. We suspect the murder took place between Sunday night and wee hours of Monday. As on Monday, duo was supposed to appear for an exam."
He added, "The culprits might be misleading this case by presenting such fabricated facts before us. The post mortem does not mention any [kind of] rape, which means the culprits could be more than two or five people, going by the way they have killed them."
Suvez Haque, Pune rural SP said, "We are working on some links and will soon nab the culprits. For this case, around eight teams have been prepared and 13 policemen are working on the case."
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)