I have written the initial story of the Amboli attack which led to the murder of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes. Since then, more details and descriptions from various accounts have given a clearer picture.
The two videos from which a lot of information has been collected are at the bottom of the post.
Noting here the events as I understood they happened.
- On the 20th October 2011, 7 friends went to Amboli Kitchen and Bar for dinner and to watch cricket match on big screen. Keenan Santos, Reuben Fernandes, Avinash Bali, Benjamin Fernandes, Priyanka Fernandes, Shobhita and one more girl were present in the group.
- On exiting the restaurant, they encountered a group of drunk men standing outside who started making comments about the girls in the group. [Avinash, in video] These men were later identified as Jitendar Rana, Sunil Both, Satish Durgaj and Deepak Piswal. These are called thugs in the rest of the article for ease.
- The boys in the group confronted the drunks and slapped them and sent them away. [Avinash, in video]
- The area was “bustling with life”. Restaurant busy, cafe nearby open, people on the street. Doors to a political party’s office on their right were wide open. [Priyanka, in video, article]
- As they left, Avinash Solanki heard one of them mutter to Reuben that he would kill him “maar dunga tum logon ko”. He did not think much of it at the time. [Avinash, in video]
- The thugs returned with more people who were armed with sickles, knives, bamboos, stumps [Priyanka, in video, article] and other weapons and suddenly attacked the group from behind. [Avinash, in video]
- Keenan pushed his girlfriend Priyanka toward the restaurant and was almost immediately attacked by the thugs. He fought hard inspite of stab wounds. Perhaps he didn’t realize that he had been stabbed immediately.[Priyanka, in video, article]
- The girls started screaming for help. There was a crowd of bystanders gathered, but no one came to help. [Priyanka and Avinash in video, Priyanka in article]
- Avinash saw a glass near by and hit Rana with it, and it cut his forehead, which helped identify him later. [Avinash, in video]
- Reuben was attacked by several other thugs, and they wrestled Keenan to the ground and kneeled on him to hold him down and stabbed him while he was held immobile and defenseless. [Benji , in video2]
- Avinash saw a ladder lying near by and picked it and flung it at the four and knocked them off balance and dragged Keenan and Reuben inside the restaurant. [Avinash, in video, also Benji in video2]
- According to statements made by Both, Durgas and Piswal, the three, who work as sweepers in Lokhandwala, were attending a party in their locality, when a flustered Rana came running towards them. He told them that he had been beaten up by four men. Not waiting to hear the rest of the story, they rushed to the spot with him. When Durgas got off the rickshaw, he saw a coconut vendor who was wrapping up for the day. “Durgas picked up two knives from the vendor, and handed one to Rana. Both and Piswal were carrying stumps and hockey sticks. Durgas and Rana approached Reuben and Keenan and stabbed them,” said a police inspector at DN Nagar police station. “The other two friends, Avinash Solanki and Benjamin Fernandez were saved, as they were beaten up with hockey sticks and stumps,” added the officer. [Mid DAY]
- In their statements, the accused have given a chilling account of the manner in which they murdered the youths, the police claimed.According to the accused, who are sweepers at Lokhandwala, there was a birthday party in their locality when Rana came up to them and said he had been beaten up by a group. Rana and three others rushed to the spot, where the two victims were present with their friends.When Durgaj got off the rickshaw, he saw a coconut vendor nearby and picked up two knives and handed one to Rana. “Sunil and Deepak were carrying stumps and a hockey stick. Satish and Rana, without saying a word, approached Ruben and Santos and stabbed them in the stomach,” said V Bhoite, senior inspector from the DN Nagar police station. [Indian Express]
- Rana, who is the prime accused in the case, allegedly explained to his friends how to “kill with a chopper” as they were leaving the spot, said a source privy to the investigation. [DNA Article]
- The accused, identified as Satish Durgaj, was allegedly the one who picked up two knives from a vendor and stabbed Santos, the police said. Police officers investigating the case said Durgaj had been arrested by the Amboli police earlier this year in an attempt to murder case. [Indian Express]
- One waiter from the restaurant helped, all others stayed back, avoided. Rickshaws and taxis didn’t stop. Avinash said on Times Now that the hotel had a staff of about 20-25 people. Perhaps, if they had helped immediately, perhaps they could have saved Keenan and Reuben. Priyanka describes this restaurant as one they went to often and they were known by the staff. The girls were begging for help. [Avinash, in video]
- He [GM of Amboli Kitchen & Bar] also claimed that his waiters and staff members were unaware that a heinous crime was being committed outside the premises, and helped as soon as they got wind of it … About the allegation leveled by the friends of the deceased that none of the staff members came forward to help them during the violent attack, Bhaiji explained, “Ours is an enclosed restaurant. By the time we realised what was happening, the damage had been done. Everything happened so quickly. As soon as we got wind that one of the boys had been badly injured, one of our waiters pulled him inside the restaurant. He was rushed to the hospital immediately. We have been deeply disturbed by what happened, and have tried to do whatever we can to salvage the situation. We want to support the cause in whichever manner we can,” he added.[NDTV Article]
- The girls called 100 for the police. The call was “waiting” It would be another 20 minutes before it got answered. [This has been brought up as a serious security concern several times by different people and it continues to remain a concern] [Priyanka, Avinash, Keenan’s father in video, several other sources also DNA Article]
- Police deny any delay of response and claim that they reached the scene and the hospital immediately after getting the call.
- Failing to call the police, Priyanka called up Keenan’s father who arrived shortly after Reuben was taken to the hospital and followed there a short time before Keenan died 20 minutes after being admitted. [Keenan’s father in video]
- The police said the murders were so gruesome that Reuben’s friends had to clip his stomach to keep his intestine from falling out and there was a grievous injury near his heart. [DNA Article]
- The police investigators who went to Valmiki Nagar to arrest the suspects were attacked and beaten back by the friends and relatives of the perpetrators. [Verified, lost link. will update]
- The police recovered the first knife the same day. [TOI Article]
- To track down the accused, who were all residents of Valmiki Nagar in Amboli, the DN Nagar police launched a search operation in the locality. They nabbed Rana the same night after seeing injury marks on his face. “We detained 25-30 men from the locality. Rana confessed to the crime and led us to Dulgaj, Both and Deepak,” Vijay Kumar Bhoite, the senior police inspector with DN Nagar police, said. [Mumbai Mirror]
- Eyewitnesses had said that a dozen men had attacked Keenan and his friends. However, the police, after verifying the facts, have concluded that only the arrested four were involved in the brawl. [TOI article]
- A day later, Deepak Pisawl was arrested based on location provided by Rana [Indian Express]
- Reuben was in ICCU since the attack. He underwent three surgeries to repair damage and minimize internal bleeding. However, he finally died on the 31st of October 2011
- Two nights before he died, some policemen sneaked their way into the ICCU at 1:30am where Reuben was admitted and attempted to interrogate him. Benji only saw them when they were coming out through the ICCU [via DM on Twitter]. They woke Reuben up and he was agitated for the rest of the night and anxious about Keenan (whose death he hadn’t been informed about). [Update and documentby his brother Benjamin on the group page and some Private Messages I can’t disclose and now in DNA Article] His health took a turn for the worse and he had to undergo another emergency surgery when the bleeding started again. He died a day later.
- The hospital has been accused of negligence by family and friends for allowing policemen to enter an ICCU and harass a patient without any authorization. Also, for not having facilities available on the next day because it was a Sunday even though a patient was in a critical condition. The hospital disputes this [DNA Article] However, at least the public updates from the blood donation requests from that time, clearly speak of practical problems created by policy even for critical patients and the day after the police harassment when Reuben had to have emergency surgery the blood bank was closed.
- The funeral of Reuben Fernandes took place on the 1st November 2011
- Statements of nine prime witnesses, including the friends of Santos and Reuben who had accompanied them, the coconut water vendor, paan shop owner, and the waiters of the Amboli Bar and Kitchen recorded by the cops. [Mid DAY]
- Satish Durgas, has been booked under charges of attempted murder. [Mid DAY]
- The other 17 accused, who had added muscle to Rana’s side, have been arrested for rioting. They will also be presented before the court today.[Mid DAY]
- With the 14-day mandatory period of police custody over, they are scheduled to be produced before court today. Cops, however, will request the permission to keep them in their custody for another 14 days, so they can develop strong cases against them. [Mid DAY]
- The four men, who allegedly killed two Amboli residents when they objected the eve-teasing of their female friends, have admitted to the crime but showed no remorse when they were brought to court on Thursday. [DNA Article]
- In other news, two strange articles misstating facts and fabricating information appeared in the Afternoon Dispatch & Courier yesterday. The main focus seemed to be to create confusion over proceedings and the role played by the MLA. The family has called their quotes in it a flat out lie. I have written a rebuttal (it is more like debunking, actually). Jaymin Panchal also challenged the facts stated in the Afternoon D&C article on his blog, based on the coverage seen on Times Now [above].
- Still, copies of the newspaper were distributed by supporters of the MLA among mourners outside the church on the day *after* the funeral. Obviously an attempt to change public opinion by the MLA. This has been misreported in the DNA as during the funeral – the articles cover the funeral, couldn’t have possibly distributed them before writing.
- The family has rejected categorically the claims in the Afternoon Dispatch and Courier by the MLA that he had single handedly supported the victims families or had paid hospitable bills.
- In still other news, Afternoon D&C threatened @Jemin_p over his article.
- Today, the custody of the perpetrators ended, and the police presented them before a magistrate. They intended to establish the seriousness of the crime and ask for an additional 14 days of custody to make a “watertight case”. However, only one additional day of custody was allowed. This provides less time to the cops to make a foolproof case. [Times Now Video] I think this may not be such a bad thing in a country where cops routinely lose momentum on things, but that is my opinion. That the crime was done is fairly evident. And the cops have later stated that they have a waterproof case.
- “We want the case to be watertight. We have recovered the weapons. However, we want further custody because we have to record the statements of three more witnesses. There are nine witnesses in the case, including the injured friends, the three girls who were with them, the coconut vendor, a paan shop owner and the waiters of the restaurant where the attack took place,” said an officer from DN Nagar police station. “We also have to get the details of the previous case against Dugraj,” the officer added. [Indian Express]
- The police claimed to have recovered the second knife used in the crime and that the four accused had confessed. [TOI Article]
- Jitendra Rana, Sunil Bodh, Satish Dulhaj and Dipak Tival, arrested under IPC sections 302 (murder), 324 (causing hurt by dangerous weapons) and 434 (mischief), were produced at the court around 3.30 pm. [TOI Article]
- Nearly 50 of their friends and f amily m e m b e r s had arrived at the court in the morning to witness the proceedings. From the deceased’s side, a neighbour of Fernandez , incidentally an advocate, was present … Fernandez’s neighbour Harish Shetty told TOI: “The police should file a chargesheet in the case within 90 days.” [TOI Article]
- The court also sent 17 people, who had a scuffle with the police when they went to arrest the accused and so were charged with rioting, to judicial custody till November 17. Their bail will be heard on November 9. [TOI Article]
- The Times Now video shows the faces of the accused [Times Now Video] Many supporters were asking for this, and are glad that this happened. Others are concerned that showing the faces may become a factor in identifying the thugs. As in, the defense arguing that the faces were known more from news coverage than from being there.
- Speaking with Mid Day, its general manager Naveed Bhaiji shared his commiserations for the family, and confirmed that no CCTV footage of the horrifying incident had been recorded, owing to software problems. [NDTV Article]
- The Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate’s court today extended the remand of four persons arrested for the murder of two youths, Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez, to judicial custody till November 18. [NetIndian]
- Top cop Nagre Patil says that Ujjwal Nikam may be Special Public Prosecutor
Jitendra Rana (25)
Lives in Anand Nagar, Jogeshewari (West), along with his parents and uncle’s family. Is a barber at a salon in Lokhandwala. An aunt lives in Valmiki Nagar, Andheri (West), who he visited often. Became friends with the three other murder accused in the locality
Satish Dulhaj (35)
Lives in Valmiki Nagar, Andheri (West), along with his wife, three children, mother and a brother. Is a sweeper in a housing society in Andheri (West). Led the group that attacked Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez. Last year, the police had booked him in an attempt-to-murder case
Sunil Bodh (20)
Lives in Valmiki Nagar, Andheri (West), along with his wife, parents, two bothers and a sister. Works as a sweeper at Kenwood Building, Lokhandwala Complex
Deepak Tival (18)
Lives in Valmiki Nagar, Andheri (West), along with his parents, two sisters and a younger brother. Assists his parents in their work as sweepers in housing societies in Andheri (West)
Some other discrepancies remain. For example, the differing accounts of the incident by the four accused and the victims – were the original people with Rana different from these or are they deliberately telling a different story?
With the faces of the suspects being shown on national Television, What impact will it have on the case in terms of the credibility of the identification parade?
What about the cops who may have put Reuben’s life in danger and contributed to his death?
The information about the MLA sponsoring a lawyer for the murderer is unconfirmed. The Afternoon spent an entire essay over his innocence and has quoted him saying that it was a conspiracy against him *sigh* what was the need at all? Howevever, this info makes it very important to verify independently
Another thought that comes to mind is that even if the other three accomplices of Rana claim that they did not stop to find full facts before backing him up, stabbing someone doesn’t become excusable.
A new post has been created with Developments in the Keenan and Reuben case