Thane: A court on Thursday remanded Manoj Sane, the 56-year-old who chopped and boiled body parts of his live-in partner in his flat in Maharashtra's Thane district, to police custody till June 16, according to an official.
A few of the pieces were crushed in a mixer and boiled in a pressure cooker, in what appeared to be a re-run of the Shraddha Walkar case.
Neighbours also told the police that Sane had been feeding stray dogs for the past few days, something he had never done before.
While a case has been registered against Sane under Indian Penal Code sections 302 (murder) and 201 (destruction of evidence), the motive behind the crime is yet to be ascertained, said the official from Naya Nagar police station.
Victim Saraswati Vaidya (36) was in a live-in relationship with Sane, who works in a ration shop, and the couple resided in flat no. 704 on the seventh floor of Geeta Akashdweep building in Mira Road East for the past three years, the official said.
Another police official told PTI that a neighbour experienced a foul smell emanating from Sane's flat on Wednesday. Sane appeared nervous when he asked him about the stench. Sane then stepped out with a black sack and told the neighbour that he would be back by 10.30 pm.
However, neighbours felt something was not right and they alerted the police.
Police broke open the door after there was no response from inside. While Sane was in the flat, it reeked of an unbearable smell, said the official. In the bedroom, they found a plastic bag and a blood-stained saw. But the seasoned cops were stunned when they entered the kitchen, he said.
On the kitchen platform, police found boiled human flesh in a pressure cooker and in a few vessels with the woman's hair lying on the floor. Half-burnt bones and flesh were kept in the sink and in buckets and tubs, the official said.
Neighbours told the media that the couple mostly kept to themselves and they did not hear the two quarrelling.
According to the neighbours, Sane had been feeding stray dogs for the past few days something they had not seen him doing earlier, said the official.
Citing their preliminary probe, a senior police official told PTI that Sane most likely killed Vaidya on June 4 and was trying to dispose of the body parts.
Sane is trying to mislead the police by claiming that his live-in partner committed suicide, but the truth will be out after thorough interrogation, he said.
Samples of the body parts have been sent for forensic tests to the JJ Hospital in Mumbai, said Jayant Bajbale, DCP-Zone I of Mira-Bhayander-Vasai-Virar police.
Crime sparks blame game between BJP, Opposition
The crime also sparked a war of words between the Opposition and the BJP, a ruling partner in the state.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule described the murder as "extremely horrific and outrageous" and alleged that crimes against women were on the rise in the state as criminals have no fear of law.
"A woman was killed by her live-in partner in the Mira Road area. The accused tried to dispose of the body by cutting it into pieces, which he crushed in a mixer and boiled in a pressure cooker. This incident is extremely horrific, inhuman and outrageous," tweeted the NCP Member of Parliament.
She also said that Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who handles the home portfolio, should concentrate on his department seriously.
Chitra Wagh, state BJP women's wing chief, hit out at Sule saying she was shedding crocodile tears.
"Fadnavis is capable enough to take action in the Mira Road case. But you did not feel like speaking out when a minor girl at Manchar in Pune district was kidnapped by a Muslim boy, when the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) was in power, and was not found for two-and-a-half years. Had the MVA government intervened, then Shraddha Walkar would not have been cut into pieces," she said.
"Even a chameleon will feel ashamed to see how you change colours," Wagh alleged.
Shraddha Walkar was allegedly strangled to death by her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawala on May 18 last year. The accused sawed her body into several pieces, which he kept in a refrigerator for almost three weeks at his residence in south Delhi's Mehrauli.
(With PTI inputs)