2 convicted of murder even in absence of victim’s body | India News

MUMBAI: Over six years after 28-year-old BBlunt salon executive Kirti Vyas went missing, a sessions court on Monday held two of her colleagues – Siddhesh Tamhankar and Kavita Sidhwani (name changed), in whose company she was last seen – guilty of her murder, making it a rare conviction in the absence of the victim’s body.
Special judge MG Deshpande said, “The offence against both of you has been proved.” The judge will pronounce the quantum of sentence on Tuesday.While the maximum punishment is death, the minimum is life imprisonment. The trial was conducted in-camera at the behest of Sidhwani’s lawyer to protect her identity.
Vyas went missing on March 16, 2018, after leaving home for work. Tamhankar and Sidhwani were arrested on May 5 that year. A police inquiry found that the two strangled her in a car and dumped her body at Mahul. A prolonged search for the body did not yield results.
The prosecution had said in court that Tamhankar had been afraid of losing his job after being put on notice by Vyas over his poor performance at work, and of his relationship with a married Sidhwani being exposed.

2 convicted of murder even in absence of victim’s body

Sidhwani (48), who had been granted bail by Supreme Court in 2021, broke down after the verdict and was taken into custody. Tamhankar (42), who has been in jail since his arrest in 2018, made repeated attempts to calm her down.
IPS officer Sanjay Saxena, who was the then JCP (crime), credited the verdict despite the absence of the body to good teamwork. “Strong circumstantial evidence coupled with scientific evidence through forensic analysis, was the key,” he said.
Calling the crime premeditated, special public prosecutor Avdhoot Chimalkar had cited the evidence of 39 witnesses to seek a conviction, and said, while submitting the final arguments in the case, that the crime was committed on the day the deadline mentioned on the show-cause notice ended, “on which day, in all probability, his services were to be terminated”. He said Tamhankar and Sidhwani’s residences, and their workplace, were far from Vyas’s home and there was no other need for them to have waited for her outside her house on March 16, 2018.
The prosecution said Tamhankar had accompanied Vyas’s family when filing a missing person complaint and even joined a search for her. It said during none of these instances did Tamhankar reveal he and Sidhwani had picked Vyas up from outside her house – the most incriminating evidence against him. He revealed this out of fear only after CCTV footage was being scanned. It was also said DNA from the bloodstains and hair strands recovered from the car matched with Vyas’ blood samples.

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