Mumbai Flight attendant death: Flight attendant found killed in Mumbai; cops solve case in 12 hours, nab garbage collector (labcalindia)

A garbage collector from a residential building in Mumbai was apprehended on Monday in connection with the murder of a 23-year-old flight attendant. The victim was discovered dead with her throat slashed inside an apartment she shared with her cousin in Mumbai’s Andheri (East) on Sunday night. Cops have not ruled out the possibility of sexual assault, and forensic experts have retained her viscera and vaginal swabs for further analysis.

The incident came to light when a friend of the victim’s cousin visited her third-floor apartment around 10 PM to check on her. When she received no response at the doorbell, she enlisted the services of a locksmith to create a duplicate key for the apartment. Upon entering, they found the victim in a semi-naked state, lying in a pool of blood with two prominent stab wounds to her neck inside a bathroom.

The arrest of the suspect, Vikram Athwal, occurred less than 12 hours after the discovery of the body. Following an extensive investigation that included questioning over 45 individuals, including the building’s housekeeping staff and security personnel, the police zeroed in on Athwal, a garbage collection staff member. He is suspected of attempting to sexually assault the victim and ultimately killing her when she resisted, sometime between 11:30 AM and noon on Sunday.

A murder case has been registered against Athwal under IPC Section 307, and the police are in the process of recovering the alleged murder weapon.

The victim had communicated with her friends in Raipur before the tragic incident. She was closely related to a police officer with a history of encounters with Maoists and involvement in anti-Naxal operations.

Athwal reportedly admitted to entering the victim’s flat with sinister intentions. “Athwal said he entered the victim’s flat to clean it. He left the flat around noon but did not step out of the building for two hours. After committing the crime, he washed the bloodstains off his uniform, changed his clothes, and left the building around 1:30 PM after his duty hours and went directly to his Tunga village home in Powai. He reported to work on Monday when he was nabbed,” said a Powai police officer.The victim, who had recently joined a private airline as a flight attendant in March, had been residing in the rented flat with her cousin for the past three months. Her cousin had returned to their Raipur home a week ago.DCP (Zone X) Datta Nalawade oversaw the investigation, which involved at least eight teams, including senior inspector Supriya Patil, inspectors Prakash Kamble and Ganesh Patil, assistant inspector Vinod Lad, sub-inspector Vijay Patil, and additional personnel. They reviewed the building’s CCTV footage and guest log book. Nalawade stated, “Police looked into at least 35 persons who visited the building on Sunday between 10 AM and noon. However, none of the 35 visitors was found to be involved. This made us question the building security guards and housekeeping staff. After questioning them and with the help of technical assistance, we nabbed Athwal who had reported to work on Monday.”

CCTV footage revealed that Athwal had reported to work on Sunday morning in his uniform but left the building wearing different clothes. “After questioning at least 40 people, we zeroed in on Athwal, and his involvement in the crime was confirmed after we found fresh injury marks on his neck and hands. He confessed to leaving the building after washing his uniform to remove the bloodstains and changing into another set of clothes,” said a police officer.

A building security guard revealed, “Athwal behaved normally when he reported to work on Monday until the police arrested him. He has been working in the building for the past six months.”

The police are awaiting the post-mortem report to determine whether the accused sexually assaulted the victim before her murder. DCP Nalawade stated, “The motive is still unclear. We are waiting for the post-mortem report. We did not find any past crime history about the accused. He is married and has two children. His wife works as a domestic help in the same residential building.”

On Monday, the victim’s sister and parents flew to Mumbai and were present at Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar (West) where the post-mortem was conducted.

The victim, also a digital content creator and aspiring social media influencer, had relocated to Mumbai about six months ago after being recruited as a flight attendant, as confirmed by Raipur police. Mumbai police are in contact with their counterparts in Raipur, and her family, deeply grieving, left for Mumbai on Monday morning, leaving their Raipur community in sorrow.

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