How a tree census number helped solve a 19-yr old girl’s murder in Mumbai

Vaibhav Burungale allegedly killed Vaishnavi Babar before committing suicide
Vaibhav Burungale allegedly killed Vaishnavi Babar before committing suicide

The Navi Mumbai Police grappled with the mysterious code “L01-501” for weeks until they realized it was a tree census number that led them to the location of a 19-year-old girl’s body, murdered on December 12. The victim, Vaishnavi Babar, allegedly fell victim to 24-year-old Vaibhav Burungale, her former boyfriend, who committed suicide after strangulating her with a zip tag.

The police revealed that the girl’s family disapproved of their relationship due to caste differences, prompting her to break up with Burungale. Suspecting her involvement with another man, Burungale decided to kill her before taking his own life. The police received a missing persons complaint from the girl’s family on December 12, the same day Burungale’s body was found at Sanpada railway tracks with a suicide note confessing to the murder.

Despite the suicide note, the girl’s body remained untraceable for a month. Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Milind Bharambe formed a special task force led by DCP Amit Kale to investigate. Examining the suicide note, call records, and technical details, the police determined that the couple had visited the Kharghar hill area on the day of her disappearance.

A team, assisted by voluntary rescuers and various departments, extensively searched the area based on the code “L01-501” mentioned in the suicide note. After struggling to decipher the code, the police consulted the forest department, revealing it as a tree census number. This information led them to a dumping ground in Kalamboli, where the girl’s body was found, identified through her clothing, wristwatch, and ID card.

Burungale’s mobile phone contained messages where he claimed to have “tested” the zip tag on himself before using it on the victim, ensuring it wouldn’t cause much pain. He expressed a belief in being together in their next life.