Niagaon murder: I want everyone to recognise culprits so they can be caught, says girl’s sister | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Niagaon murder: I want everyone to recognise culprits so they can be caught, says girl’s sister

ByShreya Bhandary & Megha Sood
Sep 02, 2022 12:21 AM IST

On August 26, the body of the 15-year-old minor girl was found wrapped in a blanket and stuffed in a travel bag that was dumped near Naigaon station.

Mumbai: A week since her younger sister left home, only to be found dead two days later, dumped near Naigaon Railway station, 22-year-old Mitali Rathod is continuing a silent but persistent protest. Using social media to her advantage, Rathod is sharing pictures of her 15-year-old sister Vanshita and two men accused of kidnapping and killing the teenager, hoping to speed up the process of nabbing them.

Vanshita Rathod with her 22-year-old sister Mitali Rathod
Vanshita Rathod with her 22-year-old sister Mitali Rathod

“I want to share the photos of the two accused all over the country, if need be, hoping that everyone knows who they are and can help get them arrested at the earliest. They have killed an innocent child, taken her away from us, and until they are arrested, I can’t sleep in peace,” said Mitali, who works as an operational and sales manager with a pilot and cabin crew training company.

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On August 26, the body of the 15-year-old minor girl was found wrapped in a blanket and stuffed in a travel bag that was dumped near Naigaon station. A resident of Andheri, Vanshita had left home at 11:15 am for school on August 25, but did not return home till evening, following which her family filed a missing person complaint.

Earlier this week, the Valiv police — who are investigating the matter, released photos of the accused and asked for the help of all the Maharashtra and Gujarat police stations to help them nab Santosh Makwana (21) and his accomplice Vishal Anbhavne (21). Ten teams of police from Mumbai and Ahmedabad are currently working on the project but the accused remain untraced still.

“Our teams reached Ahmedabad four days ago based on the location of the accused and are still there because the accused have been untraceable as they switched off their mobile phones,” said Kailash Barve, senior police inspector of Valiv police station.

Barve said the victim’s boyfriend and main accused Makwana has a few relatives in Ahmedabad. “We conducted searches at houses of Makwana’s relatives but did not find him,” added Barve.

Despite assurances from the police, Mitali feels more needs to be done to ensure the accused are nabbed soon. “These photos of the accused have been released to the police only, but I feel even the general public needs to see their faces so it becomes easier to identify them. I am reaching out to the most-followed pages on social media sites and requesting them to share pictures of the accused so more people can join this search,” added Mitali.

In the past one week, Mitali and her friends and relatives have been sharing photos of Vanshita on their social media pages with the hashtag #justiceforvanshita. “These men murdered an innocent girl and dumped her before fleeing. Not only should they be jailed, but we will fight to ensure they are awarded the death penalty for such a heinous crime,” added Mitali.

A day after Vanshita’s body was found, the police scanned the CCTV footage of all railway stations between Khar and Virar. They found Makwana getting off a train at Virar station after which they tracked down the location of his phone which was found to be active in Ahmedabad.

“We immediately formed teams and left for Ahmedabad but after that, the mobile was found switched off,” said Barve.

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