THE Navghar police have initiated investigations into the murder of a 70-year-old woman who was found dead at her Mulund residence Wednesday. Police said as cash and valuables were missing from the house, robbery might have been the motive, although investigations are also under way to check whether the crime was a fallout of personal enmity.
Laxmi Naik (70), used to stay with her younger sister Leela (60) on the first floor of the Pragati Apartments building in Gawanpada, Mulund (East). Police said around 8.45 pm Wednesday, Leela left her residence to attend to some chores, and Laxmi was alone in the house since that time. Around 10.30 pm, Laxmi’s granddaughter Kavita Katne reached the house to check on Laxmi.
When repeated knocking elicited no response, she exited the building and went around the back, after which she saw that the kitchen window was open. As the sisters always closed the window before leaving the house, she suspected that at least one of them was still inside. Hence, she went back up to the first floor and resumed knocking, but had to wait.
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“Leela returned home a short while later and opened the door using her latchkey. Laxmi was lying on the bedroom floor with her hands and legs bound with rope and a piece of cloth stuffed inside her mouth. Leela and Kavita rushed her to the Mulund General Hospital where she was declared dead before admission,” said an officer.
The hospital authorities subsequently informed the Navghar police about the incident and a team of policemen was sent to the hospital to conduct inquiries. Statements were recorded from Leela and Kavita and the house was searched.
“Laxmi’s gold earrings and some cash from the bedroom cupboard, collectively worth Rs 46000, were found to be missing. There were no signs of forced entry into the house, suggesting that the perpetrators were known to Laxmi and that she willingly let them in.
We have recovered Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage of a camera mounted over a shop across the street, and are scanning it to check if any identifiable suspects were seen entering or leaving the building from the time that Leela left to the time that Laxmi arrived,” said Police Inspector Sunil Kale, Navghar police station.
The police are also making inquiries with friends and relatives of the two sisters to check if they were involved in any personal or property-related disputes, said an officer.