Mumbai Crime Watch: 2 held for murder of Madh man believed to have died of natural causes

The city crime branch has solved the mystery of the death of a 35-year-old man who was killed by his wife and her paramour last December. Auto-driver Ashok Patel had been smothered to death by his wife Ujwala, 28, and her paramour Arup Das, 25, who had then cremated his body the following day. Two months after his death, Unit 8 of the crime branch received a tip-off about the murder, which led to the arrest of Das and his friend and co-accused Sagar Sharma, 28 on Friday. However, Ujwala is still at large.

Crime branch officer Lakshmikant Shelkar recently heard from a police informant that Das and Sharma had committed a murder and the latter, who had been promised Rs 20,000, was asking Das for payment.

Based on this information, the crime branch picked up Das and Sharma, who confessed to the murder after intense interrogation. “After receiving the information, we first verified it with the crematorium and then checked the medical history of the deceased. When we checked with the locals of Pascal Wadi in Madh, where Patel resided, they told us he had frequent quarrels with his wife. After verifying at various levels, we picked up the two,” said Ajay Joshi, senior police inspector, Unit 8.

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The two told the crime branch that on December 21, they provided Ujwala with sleeping pills (nitro wet 10, a banned drug). She added four pills to Patel’s breakfast but since they failed to work, she mixed in another 10 in his dinner, which however only proved enough to make him sleep. When Ujwala found that her husband was still breathing, she then called Das, who smothered him with a pillow, killing him.

The conspiracy did not end there. Ujwala and Das then called a local doctor and obtained a death certificate and cremated him the next day, at the Madh crematorium.

Police have recovered Patel’s death certificate from the crematorium, wherein the cause of his death was mentioned as cardiaorespiratory failure. The crime branch officer suspected that the doctor had likely been tricked by Ujwala in order to obtain the death certificate. However, the doctor has also been booked for conspiracy.

Patel and Ujwala were married around 10 years ago and they have three children, according to the police. Das was their neighbour and knew Ujwala for the past two years. Although he had moved out of the locality, Ujwala had convinced her husband to allow Das to stay in their home as a paying guest.

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According to the crime branch officer, Ashok had found out about his wife’s extramarital relationship with Das a few days before his murder.

He is alleged to have beaten up Das and thrown him out of their house. This was when Ujwala and Das hatched a conspiracy, police said.

The investigation so far has revealed that Ujwala, Das and Sharma had made two attempts to kill Patel before, for which purpose, they had rented a tempo, using which, they had planned to run him over and make it look like an accident. However, the first time, Patel was on his bike and Sharma, who was driving the tempo, was unable to keep pace with him, while the second time, Sharma’s brother was riding pillion and so they cancelled their plan.

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