‘Actor staged accident for sake of her children’

In an interesting development, the police on Wednesday said Marathi actor Alka Punewar (48) had told her husband Sanjay that she was leaving him and going to live with her 24-year-old lover. However, she did not want their children to know about her decision, and hence staged the 'accident' in Khopoli so that they would think she was dead.

Alka, a Thane resident, had gone missing on December 27 night, and her car was found in a 900-ft ravine in Khopoli three days later. However, on Tuesday, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch found that she was in Chennai with Alok Paliwal, and they had staged the 'accident' with the help of their friend Sanjay Sonkar (25).

Alka and Paliwal reached Thane from Chennai on Wednesday night and were questioned by the Kopri police in Thane about the incident.

"Alka said when she left on December 27, she told Sanjay that she was leaving him for Paliwal. She had even given Sanjay her ATM PIN so that he could operate her account, and wanted to start a new life with Paliwal. She claims that Sanjay offered no objection as he also wanted to marry someone else," said Deputy Commissioner of Police Balasaheb Patil, Zone V, Thane.

In the early hours of December 28, Paliwal and Sonkar staged the accident for the benefit of Alka's three children. However, the plan went awry when Alka tried to find out if the act had been successful but made an error of judgement. She told Paliwal to find if the car had been found without letting her husband know that she was with him.

"Paliwal called Sanjay a day later and told him that Alka was supposed to meet him but had not yet reached Chennai. Sanjay then panicked and reported her missing, which led to widespread media attention, which in turn made Alka panic," said Patil.

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