Two weeks after a 19-year-old psychology student named Jhanvi Kukreja was murdered on New Year’s eve in Mumbai, the autopsy report has found no signs of sexual assault on the victim. Jhanvi had attended the party with two of her best friends, Shree Jodhankar (24) and Diya Padankar (19), who are the prime accused in the case.
As per reports, the post-mortem conducted on the victim found no evidence of sexual assault. However, Jhanvi had sustained 48 injuries on her body, including in the skull. The police have also conducted a DNA test of the accused with the evidence that was gathered from the crime spot. Senior Inspector Gajanan Kabdule (Khar) informed, “We have also recorded the statement of the doctor at Sion Hospital where the accused Jogdhankar had sought treatment claiming he mad met with an accident.”
Two accused sent to judicial custody
On Thursday, a local court in Mumbai sent the two accused, namely, Shree Jogdhankar and Diya Padalkar to judicial custody. While Shree has been sent to Taloja jail, Diya will serve her jail time in Byculla’s women prison. Earlier, the duo remained in police custody for 13 days. The Khar police informed the Court that Shree is short-tempered, has criminal antecedents and may resort to ‘dangerous steps.’
While the victim’s advocate Trivankumar Karnani had called for an extension of police custody to ascertain the motive behind the crime, Shree’s lawyer Mahesh Vaswani opposed the plea citing the accused’s co-operation with the police. Advocate Karnani added, “We have demanded a special public prosecutor for our case. We are not happy with current public prosecutor representing the police for a remand hearing. Maximum opportunity may be given to the police to complete custodial interrogation and we must not incapacitate them.”
Cops solely dependent on circumstantial evidence
The Khar police have failed to find eye witness testimonies or any concrete evidence, in connection to the Jhanvi Kukreja murder case. This is despite the fact that the accused had been in police custody for 13 days. As such, the investigative team is now solely dependent upon circumstantial evidence. Both the accused have denied any involvement in the crime.
Shree, who had suffered severe injuries, claimed that he did not remember anything that transpired on the night of December 31. Investigators found that the building watchman was sleeping at the time of the incident and as such did not hear any scuffle that took place on the second floor. The police found that Shree had a track record of violent behaviour. He had assaulted a paan shop vendor a year ago and had assaulted a taxi driver two years ago.
While speaking on the allegations, Shree’s advocate Mahesh Vashwani claimed that the ‘violent episodes’ were not mentioned by the police in the remand application. He also said that while Khar police failed to find eye witness testimonies in the Jhanvi Kukreja murder case, but has now come up with incidents that are more than a year old. Vashwani questioned as to why police could not ascertain how his client got severely injured during the New Year’s party.
VP Singh, IPS officer turned lawyer, informed that several convictions have taken place in the past based only on circumstantial evidence. However, he added, “Convictions based on circumstantial evidence are rare and happen only when physical evidence is not forthcoming.”
Citizens pay tribute to Jhanvi Kukreja
On Friday, friends and family of Jhanvi organised a condolence meet at the Khar Gymkhana between 5-6 pm. Several people came to pay tribute to the victim. They had also launched an online campaign, to gather support for Jhanvi. It has over 14,000 signatures.
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, who had met the victim’s parents, tweeted, “Was completely shattered & numbed when the mother of 19 yr JhanviKukreja, at the condolence, meet today, told me that their future is killed. The killers of her daughter should be hanged. I pray to God that her wishes come true and I stand by #JusticeForJhanviKukreja”
Was completely shattered & numbed when the mother of 19 yr #JhanviKukreja, at the condolence meet today, told me that their future is killed. The killers of her daughter should be hanged.— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) January 15, 2021
I pray to God that her wishes come true and I stand by #JusticeForJhanviKukreja. pic.twitter.com/EgUZRUxfKo
The Jhanvi Kukreja Murder case
Jhanvi, a resident of Mumbai and a psychology student from Jai Hind College was found dead after she had gone to attend a New Year’s Eve party in Mumbai’s suburb Khar. As per the autopsy report, skull fracture was said to be the cause of her death. Reports also suggest that Jhanvi’s injuries were homicidal and not accidental. It is revealed that the deceased was brutally beaten approximately around 2.30 am. Her body showed injury marks on the hip and thighs.
“These injuries indicate that Kukreja was badly beaten with an intention of killing her,” said an officer from Khar police station in Mumbai. As per reports, it was around 6 am that the dead body was discovered.The Khar police, investigating the case, arrested Shree Jodhankar and Diya Padankar on January 2 (Saturday). They have been charged under section 302 (murder) and 323 (assault) of the IPC.
According to reports, Shree fractured his ribs and suffered injuries on his hands. He is currently admitted to the hospital. Once discharged, cops will take him under custody. Police are yet to figure out how Shree suffered injuries, however, they opined that Shree might have also had a fall during the scuffle.