An anxious father, searching for his missing 20-year-old son, found his bludgeoned body in Aarey Milk Colony in Goregaon (E) on Wednesday. Though the exact motive behind the murder is not known, police suspect that an altercation with friends could have lead to Atharva Shinde's death.
Atharva's father Narendra is a police inspector with the Economic Offences Wing and led the family's search party in Aarey's forests. The family lives in Thakur Village in Kandivli (E).
"Atharva left home on Monday night (May 7) to attend a birthday party in Aarey Colony," said a police officer. "Later at night, he messaged Narendra, saying he would stay with friends and not come home."
In the morning, Narendra tried to called Atharva, but found that the phone was switched off. The unsuspecting father left for work, but when his son's phone continued to be out of reach all through the day he sensed that something was amiss. He contacted some of Atharva's friends, who had attended the same birthday party, and they said everyone had left for home after the party got over.
At 12.30 am on Wednesday, Narendra launched a search party with the help of friends and relatives and scoured the area adjoining the bungalow where the party was held.
Narendra found Atharva's body at around 9.20 am on Wednesday, about half-a-kilometre away from the bungalow, and informed the police.
"On Wednesday morning, we received information that a dead body was found in the lake area in Aarey. Our team reached the spot and sent the body for post-mortem to Siddharth Hospital in Goregaon," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone XII) Vinay Kumkar Rathod adding, "No missing person complaint had been filed by the family."
"We found Atharva's iPhone on his person, but it would not unlock even after using his thumbprints," said a police officer. "He had been badly beaten — there were fist blows all over his face, chest and stomach, but there were no strangulation marks. Doctors say he died between 8 and 9 am on Tuesday."
"There are injuries on the chest," say doctors from Siddharth Hospital, "and the white parts of both eyes had turned black, probably due to forceful blows. There was bleeding from his private parts and the lungs were also affected," says a doctor from Siddharth Hospital.
"There were 18 to 20 people at the party, and we have began questioning them. There is a CCTV located outside the bungalow and the footage is being scanned," say police. Though a case of murder has been registered by Aarey Colony Police against unknown persons, at least seven to eight suspects are on the police radar.
"We would not like to speculate at this moment," said an investigating officer, "The forensic report will clarify what Atharva had consumed at the party. A female friend of Atharva, who was also at the party, fell ill and was admitted to a hospital when we began questioning her. She says she doesn't remember what happened at the party."
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