It is 8:05 pm at JJ Marg near the hospital this Saturday. A man walks on the busy sidewalk. He meets a man sleeping on the sidewalk. He stops, moves back about 10 m, picks up a heavy stone there, returns to where the man is sleeping and begins to smash his head with the stone four times.
The sleeping man did not resist. It is inert from the first shot. People are walking on the sidewalk the whole time this scene is taking place. The traffic on the road is heavy. No one stops the man who committed the crime as he walks away.
When a senior police officer received a phone call from JJ Marg Police Station about 15 minutes later informing him of the gruesome murder, it was the second call about a murder he had received in within a few minutes. The first was from the Byculla police station, to inform him that a man had been crushed to death on a sidewalk outside the Byculla fruit market, with a cobblestone at 7:50 p.m.
The officer was quick to make the connection between the two crimes, committed within a radius of 1.5 km, which occurred just 15 minutes apart. Police scanned CCTV footage for possible suspects. Suresh Shankar Gauda was arrested Sunday morning in Mohammed Ali Road, he was in hiding just 100m from JJ Marg police station where the second murder case was recorded.
In the CCTV footage, Gauda is seen getting off a Badlapur-CST local train at Byculla station. He walks in the direction of Dongri. He sees a man sleeping on the sidewalk in front of the Byculla fruit market. He picks up a paving stone that is nearby and crushes it several times on the head.
It’s a crowded area, filled with commuters rushing to and from the train station, shoppers, and traffic, but Gauda walks away from the scene unstoppable. Fifteen minutes later, he smashes the head of a second man, that of JJ Marg.
Gauda, ââ40, told police he did not know any of the victims. Police found out on questioning that he had been arrested six years earlier for the similar murder of a street resident in Kurla, but was acquitted due to insufficient evidence. Now the police suspect he could have committed other murders too.
Calling him a ‘psychopathic killer’, a senior officer, requesting anonymity, said: ‘He likes to see people in pain, that’s what we have gathered.
Police said Gauda told them he was in hiding near JJ Marg police station, as it is believed the culprit fled away from the place. Police said they had yet to establish the identity of the two murdered men.
âHe just saw them sleeping on the road, picked up a rock and smashed it against their heads. Then we see him moving away from both places, âsaid an officer.
Police said after his arrest Gauda readily admitted to the murders and also told police on Tuesday that he was arrested by Kurla police for a murder in 2015. Investigators investigated police in Kurla Kurla and learned he was a suspect. to kill a man asleep on a sidewalk. The man’s head had been smashed with a stone, just like in the Saturday murders.
Police identified the deceased as Tiger. Gauda told police at the time his name was Raju aka Ravi Shankar Shetty. However, Gauda was acquitted in this case in December 2016, after which he was released from prison.
He also told police that his parents live in Hassan in Karnataka. JJ Marg’s police will send a team to verify his identity.
âWe suspect he has attacked more people between 2016 and now. We are trying to check with all police stations to see if anyone in the city or in the neighboring areas has been killed in the same style, âsaid an officer.
âOften in a case where a trail dweller is killed and the body is not identified, the police do not bother to identify the victim and close the case by submitting a ‘Summary A’ report to the court, which means the deal is true, but not detected.
The officer added that they had started looking into all previous cases of trail dwellers murdered in south Mumbai. “If we identify a case identical in the modus operandi to that used by Gauda, ââwe will check the CCTV footage of this incident and reopen the investigation into this case accordingly,” the officer said.
Gauda was taken into judicial custody on Thursday. Police in Byculla will soon file a request for custody, where the case relating to the first murder is registered.