Navi Mumbai, 18th January 2024: A chilling discovery has shaken the community as the decomposed body of 19-year-old college student Vaishnavi Babar was found in the Kharghar hills, more than a month after her mysterious disappearance. The case took a sinister turn with the police uncovering a suicide note left by her boyfriend, Vaibhav Burungale, confessing to her murder.
Vaishnavi Babar, a data science student, was reported missing on December 12 by her mother when she failed to return home from SIES College in Sion. The Kalamboli police initiated an investigation, and the case was later transferred to the crime branch’s anti-human trafficking unit (AHTU) on January 6. Utilizing mobile tower locations and CCTV footage, the AHTU determined that both Babar and Burungale were present in the Kharghar hills on the day she disappeared.
Vaibhav Burungale, aged 24, died by suicide in front of a train at Juinagar station on the same day Babar was reported missing. The Vashi GRP initially registered his death as an accidental case. However, the investigation took a new turn when the AHTU team, examining Burungale’s phone, discovered a suicide note. In the note, he admitted to strangulating Babar with a self-locking nylon cable zip on Kharghar hills due to his suspicions about her involvement with someone else.
Navi Mumbai police commissioner Milind Bharambe established a special task force to delve into the case. The AHTU team, decoding a mysterious code in the suicide note (LOI-501), led investigators to a specific tree in the Kharghar Hills plantation estate. After daily searches utilizing drones, Babar’s body was found under the marked tree near Owe camp on Kharghar foothills on January 16.
Vaishnavi Babar, survived by her parents, elder sister, and 10-year-old brother, has left a void in her family and the community. Burungale, who studied till HSC, lived with his parents and elder brother.