Mumbai, Jun 7 (IANS): The prime suspect in the rape and murder of an 18-year-old student at the government-run Savitridevi Phule Women's Hostel in Mumbai's Chowpatty, has been found dead in an apparent case of suicide, even as the Opposition slammed the government for throwing women's safety to the winds.
The suspect was identified as security guard/laundryman Omprakash Kanojia, 32, hailing from Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh, whose body was recovered on the railway tracks near Charni Road railway station on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday at around 4 p.m, the naked body of the victim was recovered from her 4th floor hostel room, the door of which was locked from outside.
The rape and murder by strangulation was committed the previous night, after which she had gone 'incommunicado'. while the suspect Kanojia was reported 'missing', and a CCTV grab last showed him leaving the hostel around 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
Mumbai went into a tizzy as details of the heinous crime came to light sparking a major political row here on Wednesday.
The girl from Akola was studying in the second-year course of a Bandra polytechnic. She was also working part-time in a private company, and was preparing to leave for her hometown on Thursday.
Many inmates in the hostel had already gone to their respective native places and the victim was the only one living on the fourth floor of the hostel, and investigators believed that Kanojia may have taken advantage of the situation.
The crime came to light only after the hostel officials found that she was not responding to calls and when they peeked into her room through a window, found her lying there, and alerted the Marine Drive Police Station which rushed a team there.
Later, police learnt that she had last spoken with a hostel mate around at 11.30 p.m. on Monday and now surmise that the sexual and physical assault may have taken place between midnight-5 a.m. on Tuesday.
The body was sent for an autopsy at the Sir J.J. Hospital while a team of forensic experts have scanned the hostel room and other areas for evidence, and recovered a dupatta found the body.
The police have also seized Kanojia's mobile phone which he left at the hostel and confirmed his death from the railway police records that he had jumped before a running train to end his life.
Women & Child Welfare Minister M.P. Lodha, who visited the hostel late in the night, announced that after the remaining lot of around four dozen girls -- many who are appearing for their exams -- vacate the premises, the old state-run hostel will be taken up for redevelopment.