- Police suspect Kirti Vyas murdered over professional differences
- Colleagues Siddhesh Tamhankar, Khushi Sahjwani arrested
- Mr Tamhankar allegedly murdered her to avoid being sacked
A young girl Kirti Vyas working at actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar's ex-wife Adhuna Bhabani's salon goes missing. Vyas left home on the morning of March 16 and never reached her workplace. Frantic with worry, the family and even Farhan Akhtar make every effort to locate the missing girl.
Cops investigating the case suspect that Kirti Vyas was murdered over professional differences and arrested two colleagues, Siddhesh Tamhankar, 28, and Khushi Sahjwani, who is 42-years-old. According to the police, Kirti Vyas had pulled up Siddhesh Tamhanka, who works as account executive at BBlunt Andheri, over work performance. Vyas, the finance manager of the same branch had slapped him a notice, and asked him to improve his performance or quit by March 16. The cops suspect that Tamhankar took the extreme step to avoid being sacked
After throwing several red-herrings to divert the police's attention, Kirti Vyas's co-workers Siddhesh Tamhankar and Khushi Sahjwani at BBlunt, were arrested for allegedly murdering her on March 16. As per a Crime Branch source, Sahjwani, 43, who also works as academy manager in the salon, was having an extra-marital affair with Tamhankar, and helped him plot the murder.
Sources from the crime branch said, Siddhesh Tamhankar was very close to Khushi Sahjwani, and did not want to lose this job. However, his performance was not up to the mark and Vyas had put him on notice for it, which led to a heated argument between the trio. On March 16, the day when Tamhankar's future in the organisation was to be decided, he and Sahjwani picked up Vyas from a place near her home in an attempt to convince her not to fire Tamhankar. he even promised her that he would improve his performance. However, both of them got a negative response from Vyas. Allegedly, Tamhankar then took a piece of cloth and strangulated Kirti Vyas. When she stopped moving after a few minutes, the duo were in shock and realised what they'd done
Once the details of the gruesome crime broke, Crime Branch officials said that the crime was very similar to the murder of Sheena Bora. Aside from the murder being committed inside a car, another similarity was that the body was kept inside the vehicle for a long time, till Sahjwani and Tamhankar decided where to dispose of it. Sources said that after the killing, Sahjwani had parked her car, with Vyas's body inside, in the parking area of the Santacruz high-rise she stayed in for more than seven hours. After parking the car, the two had gone to the office and returned to Santacruz around 6.30 pm, from where they took the car to Mahul Port Trust area to dispose of the body.
When the police scanned the CCTV camera footage from the area, they found that Vyas did climb into the car at around 9.09 am, but never alighted. Based on the call detail records, Vyas's phone location was last traced to Jijamata Nagar in Worli. Meanwhile, the CDRs of both the accused revealed that they were in Bharat Nagar, Grant Road, around 8.51 am on March 16. They reached Senapati Bapat Marg in Lower Parel at 10.30 pm, and headed for Santacruz, where Sahjwani resides, before heading for their work place in Andheri. The duo stayed in the office till 6.30 pm, after which they went to Sahjwani's home, from where they went to Mahul Port Trust in Wadala. They were in Wadala between 8.50 pm and 9.40 pm, said the police source.
Kirti Vyas's mother had tried contacting her at 11.30 am, to ask her for the WiFi password, but her phone was switched off. Assuming she was busy at work, she didn't try reaching her again. The family lodged a missing persons complaint at DB Marg police station the following day.
Siddhesh Tamhankar and Khushi Sahjwani were questioned by the police and crime branch, as they were last seen with Kirti Vyas near her Grant Road residence. They, however, managed to divert the police's attention. Sahjwani kept sharing FB posts on the Let's Help Find Kirti Vyas page until recently.
Siddhesh Tamhankar was present with the family and friends, at DB Marg police, when the missing persons complaint was filed. "He went around with the team of policemen, claiming he wanted to help them. All this while, he didn't even tell the cops that he and Sahjwani had met Vyas at the gate of her building complex," added an officer.After the police started gathering CCTV footage, the duo realised that they could land in trouble. "Sahjwani then told the cops that she had gone to Marine Drive with Tamhankar that morning, and planned to pick up Vyas on the way. Vyas, however, asked them to drop her near Navjivan Society, so that she could take a train from Grant Road station," the officer said. When the cops asked them why they had kept them in the dark, Sahjwani said that as she was married, she didn't want anyone to know about their relationship.
Heeding the advice of fishermen from Mahul village, who have been helping the crime branch in the search operation for murdered salon executive Kirti Vyas' body, officers have brought in technology - drones.Investigators, who suspect the body may be caught amid mangroves in the area, said they have been unable to enter the thicket during high tide and hence decided to use drones to be able to see deep inside the shrubs. Police sources said the nullah in Mahul Port Trust area, where the accused are said to have dumped her body, is covered with mangroves, which is home to foxes. A local fisherman said, "In the village, whenever a dead boy is buried, foxes come and dig up the spot. If they find the body, they drag it away with them." The cops are afraid of that having happened in Vyas's case.
A devastated Shefali Vyas has no idea how she is going to tell her mother that her younger sister, Kirti Vyas, was murdered by her own colleagues. "My mother was positive that Kirti would return safely one day. What do I tell her now?" said Shefali, who had been visiting DB Marg police station every day since Kirti went missing on March 16. "When my mother suggested a vacation because Kirti was such a workaholic, she had agreed. We were supposed to leave for Coorg and Mangalore on March 17. But, she never returned home," said Shefali.
The other accused, Khushi Sahjwani, lived with her husband and teenaged son in a Santacruz West high-rise. A resident told mid-day that the family is nowhere to be seen since Saturday, adding that her husband worked in the hotel industry, while her son had just passed SSC. Another said, "Khushi's family was on cordial terms with everyone in the building. It was sad to find out Khushi had admitted to the crime. All of us are in shock," said a woman staying in the Santacruz building.
A person, who once worked at BBlunt said that Sahjwani was the face of the salon and academy as she headed the HR department. "She would be the one who addressed your concerns. She was very sweet. I'm shocked." Spoorthy Shetty, CEO, Bblunt, said, "We are in constant touch with the authorities. We can only comment once we receive an official statement from the police."
Right from the way salon executive Kirti Vyas was murdered to how her body was disposed, all aspects of this case match with that of Sheena Bora's, the Mumbai Crime Branch, investigating the murder of BBlunt's finance manager, has observed. Officers said that just like Indrani Mukerjea strangulated Bora in a car, Siddhesh Tamhankar and his colleague Khushi Sahjwani, too, murdered Vyas in a moving car. Crime branch sources learnt that the accused killed Vyas in broad daylight inside the car by putting up a sun shade on the windscreen to ensure no passer-by would be able to see inside, and because of summer, this didn't raise any suspicion either.
Meanwhile, the failure of the DB Marg police in cracking Vyas's case has attracted the ire of the Commissioner of Police DD Padsalgikar. Despite having plenty of time in hand, they couldn't nail culprits. Whereas the crime branch not only nabbed the culprits, but also got solid evidence. According to sources, Padsalgikar is angry about the shoddy work of the DB Marg police. A departmental inquiry is likely to be initiated against the officers investigating and supervising the case.