The bodies were completely disrobed and bore multiple injury marks, and the mouths were gagged. The absence of mobile phones from/near the bodies raised the suspicion that the students were victims of a violent robbery.
They were identified, on the basis of their college identity cards, as Sarthak Waghchore (24), hailing from Rahuri, Ahmednagar district, and his girlfriend, Shruti Sanjay Dumbre (22), of Otur in Junnar taluk, Pune district. Lonavla City police sources said two persons have been detained in the case.
An officer from Lonavla police station said Waghchore and Dumbre were students of Sinhagad Engineering College in Lonavla. They had failed to return to their respective accommodations - Waghchore lived in a rented house and Dumbre in the college hostel - on Sunday, but no missing complaint was registered.
Suspected suicide earlier Initially, the police suspected that they had committed suicide, but the extent of injuries and the state in which the bodies were found prompted them to consider the murder angle.
The officer said the bodies were discovered by a tribal cattle herder on a mountain between Bhusi dam and INS Shivaji, with injuries on the head and the hands, and stripped of clothes.
"Both their mobile phones are missing. Prima facie, it appears that someone attacked them for money or valuables, and then murdered them." Waghchore's motorcycle was parked around 200 ft from the crime spot.
No family problems
A cousin of Dumbre said, "The family was informed of it around 7 pm. We rushed to Pune thereafter. We were told by the police that she committed suicide with her boyfriend, but we knew about their relationship and had no problem with it." Chandrakant Jadhav, senior inspector of Lonavla City police station, said the dog squad had been pressed into service in the search for clues. The police said they are also looking into other angles.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)