Online shopping records help police to unfold a murder case

The Inside Story
PUNE: A 'kurta' (top) purchased by the victim through an e-commerce website helped the Osmanabad police solve a six-month-old murder of a woman from Pune, whose body was found in a well at Wagholi village in Osmanabad district on December 21 last year.

The woman, identified as Kanchan Pardeshi (22), had been missing from Pune since July 2015. A missing person's complaint about her was registered with the Faraskhana police station. The Osmanabad police have arrested Pardeshi's former colleague, Prakash Chaphekar (28), and his accomplice for allegedly hacking her to death and dumping her body in the well. The team was led by sub-divisional police officer, Tuljapur division, Raj Tilak Roushan.

Harish Khedkar, inspector of the local crime branch of the Osmanabad police, told TOI that on December 21, 2015, the body of an unidentified woman was found in a well at Wagholi village. The woman's throat had been slit and she had stab wounds on her stomach, neck and other parts of the body.

"We had alerted all the neighbouring police stations and circulated photographs of the body. But we did not get any clue to identify the deceased woman," Khedkar said.

In May 2016, Roushan reopened the case and began investigations. As the woman was found wearing a blue 'kurta', police started collecting information about the manufacturer of such tops. "We came to know that these tops were manufactured somewhere in Jaipur, Rajasthan, and sold all over the country through an e-commerce website," Khedkar said.

Police contacted the e-commerce company and acquired the information of people who had purchased such kurtas. "We got their cellphone numbers and even started searching profiles on a social working website," Khedkar said.

Police traced one of these cellphone numbers to Wagholi village. Investigating further, they identified a person from the village who may have knowledge of the crime and summoned him for questioning. This man turned out to be Chaphekar's accomplice. "During sustained interrogation, he narrated the entire incident," Khedkar said.

The police officials were able to identify the woman as Pardeshi. "We checked with the Pune police and found that a missing person's complaint about Pardeshi had been registered in July 2015 with the Faraskhana police station," Khedkar said.

The Osmanabad police then took Chaphekar into custody from Pune. "During sustained interrogation, Chaphekar spilled the beans," Khedkar said.

Chaphekar, who has an MBA, worked in a Pune-based private firm, where he met Pardeshi. He had an extra-marital relationship with Pardeshi. In 2015, he left the job in Pune and started working in a firm in Nagpur. When Pardeshi started asking him to marry her, he asked her to come to Nagpur. In July last year, Pardeshi went to Nagpur.

Chaphekar stayed with Pardeshi in Nagpur till December. "As Chaphekar did not want to marry Pardeshi, he hatched the plot to eliminate her," Khedkar said.

In the second week of December, Chaphekar took Pardeshi on a trip. They reached Osmanabad on December 20 in a car. "Chaphekar had already contacted his accomplice and had informed him about the murder plot," Khedkar said.
As soon as they reached near Wagholi, Khedkar's accomplice joined them. "The two men stabbed Pardeshi with a sharp weapon and also slit her throat. They dumped her body in the well. Chaphekar then returned to Pune," Khedkar said, adding, "We arrested him from Pune on June 17 and also seized the car used in the crime."

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