Mystery Surrounds Foul Smell in Mumbai Building as Police Investigate Closed Flat

Residents of Geeta Akashdeep building in Mumbai’s Mira Road suburb were puzzled by a foul smell permeating from the flat of Manoj Ramesh Sane. Believing it to be a deceased rat, neighbors initially searched their own homes, but the stench persisted.

Concerned, they approached Sane’s seventh-floor apartment, only to find no response from him or his co-resident, Saraswati Vaidya. Alarmed by their failed attempts and growing discomfort, the residents contacted the police, who have now launched an investigation into the mysterious odor and the unresponsive occupants of the closed flat.

The sight that met the police and the neighbours inside the dirty flat shocked them out of their wits. Strewn around were body parts and blood. There were pieces – which appeared to be body parts – in buckets, in a pressure cooker, and in other vessels, which were kept in the kitchen and another bedroom. Sane slept in the second bedroom. The stench was such that some of the policemen who visited the flat, ran out to vomit. The body parts belonged to 32-year-old Vaidya, who was Sane’s live-in companion. Though Sane claims that Vaidya had died by suicide and he was trying to dispose of her body out of fear of being arrested, his confession is chilling, said the police.

According to Sane, he found Vaidya, whom he taught maths as she wanted to appear for the Class X exams, lying in one of the rooms frothing at the mouth. He tried to dispose of the body in the same manner as in the Shraddha Walkar murder case. Sane reportedly told the police that the Walkar murder case had fascinated him and he had been following it closely. In his confession, the 56-year-old Sane said that when he saw Vaidya on the floor on June 4 in the morning, his first reaction was panic. When he could not get any response from Vaidya, he decided to dispose of the body in the same manner as Walkar’s body was done some months ago. 

Leaving Vaidya’s body in the flat, Sane went out and bought a tree-cutting saw and big garbage bags. He told the police that he had set about chapping the body to pieces, as small as he could. He then started boiling the body parts in a pressure cooker and also roasted them on the gas stove. He tried to put some of the smaller pieces into the drain but it ended up clogging the building’s sewage system, a fact the secretary of the building had brought to Sane’s notice. He had also strewn some of the body parts in some parts of Mira Road. According to the police, some of the body parts found in the flat are so tiny that they are unrecognizable as “parts of a body”.

Sane, who claimed to be HIV positive, had worked in a PDS or ration distribution shop in Mira Nagar. However, the shop shut down in May, rendering Sane unemployed. Since Sane and Vaidya did not interact with anyone in the building or on their floor, the neighbours did not know much about the couple. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP – Zone 1) Jayant Bajbale says that the body parts have been sent to the state-run Sir J J Group of Hospitals in Byculla, central Mumbai, for forensic analysis. He says that heated arguments over the financial problems of the couple and domestic violence by Sane appeared to be repeated occurrences.  

In November last year, ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres issued a statement highlighting that every 11 minutes a woman or a girl, is killed by an intimate partner or family member.  

In the Shraddha Walkar case, her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawala had killed and then hacked her body into 35 parts and stored them in the refrigerator until he could dispose of it. Every night he would take the body parts in a backpack and throw them in different parts of Delhi. In June 2022, a mother-son duo – residents of Pandav Nagar in Delhi – killed and chopped the body parts of Anjan Das into 22 pieces, stored them in the refrigerator and then spread those across the neighbourhood in East Delhi. In November 2022, a man in Uttar Pradesh sought help from his family to kill his ex-girlfriend and cut her body into six pieces after she had married someone else instead of him. In December 2022, the Vishakhapatnam Police found the body of a woman chopped up into pieces and kept in a drum, in a rented accommodation. 

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