Police in Mumbai have arrested a man for the murder of his live-in partner, whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase in the city’s Kurla area. The accused, Askar Manoj Barla, allegedly strangled Pratima Pawal Kispatta on Saturday evening due to suspicions of infidelity. Barla, 22, and Kispatta, 25, were originally from Odisha and met while traveling back to their home state from Mumbai during the COVID-19 lockdown. They were residing in the Dharavi area of Mumbai at the time of the incident.
Barla was apprehended by a team of the crime branch as he was attempting to flee to his hometown in Odisha. The arrest was made just 36 hours after the murder was reported. Kispatta’s body was discovered in the suitcase on Sunday morning near the CST Road bridge at Chembur-Santacruz Road in Kurla West, where construction work for a metro project was underway.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection) Raj Tilak Roshan, Barla suspected that Kispatta was involved in an affair, leading to frequent arguments between them. On Saturday evening, a fight between the two escalated, resulting in Barla strangling Kispatta in a fit of rage. Following the murder, Barla decided to dispose of the body by placing it in a suitcase.
Barla initially planned to take the body out of Mumbai by taking an autorickshaw to Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT). However, upon reaching the station, he changed his mind and left the suitcase behind a barricade near the metro project site in Kurla West. He then took the Godan Express train from LTT, intending to leave the city. Realizing that the train did not go to Odisha, Barla disembarked at Thane and purchased new tickets for his intended destination. He spent time roaming in Thane city and bought a new SIM card for his mobile phone before his arrest.
The crime branch received a call from the victim’s sister in Odisha after her photograph circulated on social media platforms. The sister provided crucial information about the case, aiding the investigation. The police used CCTV footage and technical support to identify and apprehend Barla at Thane Railway Station before he could board the train to Odisha.
During the investigation, the police circulated the victim’s photograph among Christian community members and churches in Mumbai. A priest from a church identified the woman, leading to the discovery of her residence. Barla has been arrested, and further investigation into the case is ongoing.
Note: This article has been sourced from a syndicated feed and has not been edited by NDTV staff.