Man Arrested In Mumbai For Killing Live-In Partner From Odisha & Disposing Body By Stuffing In Suitcase

Mumbai/Bhubaneswar: The Mumbai Crime Branch have arrested a 22-year-old man from Odisha for allegedly murdering his live-in partner, stuffing her body in a suitcase and dumping it near a construction site on CST-LBS Marg in Kurla on Sunday.

Askar Manoj Barla was apprehended from Thane station on Tuesday moments before he was to board a long-distance train to his hometown. He worked in a sweets shop in Sion. The deceased has been identified as Pratima Paval Kispatta (25), also a native of Odisha’s Sundrgarh who worked as a housekeeping staff in an apartment complex.

According to police, the duo got acquainted with each other while heading home on the same bus from Mumbai during the Covid-19 lockdown. They returned to Mumbai in July this year and started living together. Last month, they shifted to Dharavi, “Barla suspected Pratima of having an affair and the couple used to fight over this often,” said DCP, Crime Branch, Raj Tilak Roshan.

One such fight occurred on Saturday night and in a fit of rage, Barla strangled her. On realising that he had killed the woman, he put the body in an old suitcase and hired an autorickshaw for Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) in the early hours of Sunday. “He had planned to take a train to his hometown with the bag and throw it off wherever he got an opportunity. The accused, however, developed cold feet and dumped it on the road,” said senior police inspector, Crime Branch Unit V, Ghanshyam Nair was quoted as saying.

Reports further said that Barla changed his mind after reaching the LTT and left the station with the suitcase. While going towards Kurla West, he found that the Metro project work was going on and kept the suitcase behind the barricade there. He again went to the LTT, and took the Godan Express. As he realised that Godan Express does not go to Odisha, he got down at Thane, where he purchased new tickets for Odisha, and till the time of the train’s arrival, he was roaming in Thane city and also purchased a new SIM card for his mobile phone.

The suitcase with the woman’s body was spotted by a passer-by on Sunday morning at a Metro construction site at CST Road, Kurla. The postmortem revealed that the body was dumped just a few hours before its discovery. Following which, Kurla police filed a case under Sections 302 (murder) and 201 (disappearance of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The DCP said that the first step was to identify the deceased and her photograph was circulated on various channels for the purpose. “Her sister identified her and contacted us,” he said.

Further investigation revealed that Kispatta had lost her job two months ago. They also learnt that she was living with Barla. Police went to their residence, but he was missing. They then scanned the CCTV footage of the area and tracked his mobile phone and found that he was at Thane station, he added.

According to Pratima’s family, she had last visited home in May for about 10 days. Her family had also sent some money to her recently. They have sought the help of the state government to bring back her body to Odisha for her last rites.

(With inputs from PTI, Hindustan Times, Indian Express)


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