Dombivali, Thane: The probe into the murder of 19-year-old Santosh Vichivara revealed that very few witnesses are willing to come out and testify against those who are allegedly guilty.
Vichivara was stabbed to death following an altercation with allegedly five boys, including four minors, over a "trivial" issue at Dombivali in neighbouring Thane on Monday night, police said on Wednesday.
A few witnesses say Vichivara was assaulted and stabbed in the presence of around 30 to 35 people outside the gate of his housing complex, but not only did no one come to his aid at that moment, many who witnessed the event are denying their presence at the scene, the police said.
Police say they have so far recorded the statements of seven people, which includes family members of the deceased.
The incident occurred when Santosh Vichivara was returning home from work. He got down at Dombivali railway station and took a bus to reach home.
Vichivara, along with a girl, his neighbour, was walking down to their residences at Naveed Nagar and he was showing her a mobile phone he had recently bought when the five youngsters passed a comment asking him to share the cell number with them too.
This angered Vichivara, who got into a heated argument with them.
The girl pleaded with Vichivara to calm down but he paid no heed to her advice, Inderjeet Karle of Manpada police station said.
As tempers ran high, the five boys caught hold of Vichivara one of them stabbed him repeatedly, fatally wounding him. A profusely bleeding Vichivara was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
Police arrested the five accused yesterday and booked them on charges of murder. The four minor boys would be produced before a juvenile court, while the fifth one would be taken to a regular court for remand.
Police Inspector Karle said that the fight had taken place over a trivial issue and not over eve-teasing.
The girl claimed that she was "not teased" by the five boys.
"I was neither teased by the five boys nor was I harassed by them," she said.
She said the altercation between Santosh and the five boys occurred after she was coming along with him from work.
"Vichivara was beaten up by the five boys. When he fell down, I rushed to his help. I couldn't figure out that he was stabbed," she claimed.
"I also don't know on what issue the altercation broke out between Santosh and the five boys," she said.
The girl said she asked Santosh not to indulge in a verbal duel and instead move towards their home.
Santosh's mother Vimal Vichivara demanded strict punishment for the accused boys. "They should be given stringent punishment," she said.