The neighbour said he first noticed the smell on Monday.
A man wearing a helmet and a mask, with only his bloodshot eyes visible - this was the sight that greeted a neighbour in his first-ever interaction with Manoj Sane, the man accused of murdering 32-year-old Saraswati Vaidya and chopping up her body in Mumbai.
In an interview with NDTV, Somesh Srivastava - the neighbour who noticed the smell, confronted 56-year-old Sane and alerted the police - gave details of how Sane was caught on Wednesday evening. He spoke of how the police ensured everything looked normal so that Sane would not be spooked when he came back to the society in Mira Road's Geeta Nagar, and how Sane nearly managed to give them the slip despite this.
"We first noticed the smell on Monday. We thought that a rat must have died somewhere in the society and ignored it," Mr Srivastava told NDTV
He said that the stench was unbearable when he came home for lunch on Wednesday. "I suspected something was amiss. If an animal had died in someone's house, they would have noticed and cleaned it in three days," Mr Srivastava said.
That's when he decided to knock on the door of Sane's flat. "There was no response initially. When I knocked again after 5-10 minutes, I could hear him spraying air freshener all over the house. The sound was quite loud and I could tell that Sane was spraying inside the room and around the door as well," said Mr Srivastava, adding that he stood at the door for another 10 minutes, but Sane did not answer.
On what happened when he spoke to Sane, Mr Srivastava said, "When I finally spoke to Sane, I noticed he was shivering and his eyes were red. He had a helmet on, and a mask, and only his bloodshot eyes were visible. He left the society and I called the building secretary."
Asked what he saw when the police were contacted and he entered the flat, Mr Srivastava said, "When the door was broken open, we went straight to the bedroom and saw a black plastic sheet covering the bed. We thought there could be a dead body beneath it, but there was nothing."
"A tree-cutting machine was kept next to the bed. We found nothing in the other bedroom and the washroom either. The kitchen was where we found the body parts, kept in buckets. There were bones, blood and muscles," he added.
Asked how Sane was caught, Mr Srivastava said the flat's real estate agent, who had reached the spot, gave the police all the information that was in the rent agreement.
"An hour had passed since Sane had left and the police told us not to answer too many phone calls and ensure everything looked normal, since Sane had told me he would be back by 10.30 pm. They said if Sane saw a crowd gathered in the society when he returned, he would leave. There was no police car and the cops parked their bike out of sight," said Mr Srivastava.
The cops had reached the society at 7 pm and Sane returned around 8.30 pm. "He used the lift and came upstairs. He saw police personnel in uniform and got scared. Sane knew he could not use the stairs to flee and, coincidentally, a constable, who was heading downstairs, had entered the lift before Sane got off," he added.
"The police did not know his face and did not know it was him. The agent was the one who told the police it was Sane and that's how he was caught. Sane was trying to hide his face and go back downstairs. He would have probably fled if he had managed to do that," said the neighbour.
When Mr Srivastava was asked whether he had spoken to either Sane or Saraswati Vaidya before, he said they would leave the house and exit the society immediately. "They wouldn't stop anywhere in the society and then shut the door immediately after coming back," he added.