The Mumbai police picked up a 25-year-old man from Kashmir and arrested him Thursday night for allegedly murdering a senior citizen residing in Jogeshwari.
Police, who have identified the accused as Rafiq Mohammed Chowdhury, said he was a maintainance worker at Rizwan Apartment housing society in Jogeshwari where the victim resided, and took the drastic step as he was worried about losing his job.
A week before the murder took place, the society had fired the private security agency and the society members had warned Chowdhury told that his job was also on the line. Chowdhury had hoped that the death in the building would lead to the re-employment of the security agency and would, in turn, also ensure him job security, police said.
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On February 11, 74-year-old Mumtaz Badshah’s grandson found her blood-soaked body with her throat slit in their Rizwan Apartment residence.
The deceased had been alone at home while her husband Rashid (75) was at his office in Lokhandwala. The family has a decades-old real estate business. While the couple lived on their own, their sons and grandchildren live nearby and visited them often, the police said.
An official from the Oshiwara police station, which was investigating the murder, said: “We quizzed scores of people. But Chowdhury was one of the main suspects. He has been working in the building for a long time and was being evasive in his answers. We were tracking his movements and when he fled the city, our suspicion that he was involved, was confirmed.”
“Chowdhury was directly employed by the society after his father retired as a security guard from the same society in 2014. A week before the murder, the security agency of the society was changed but Chowdhury was retained. However, investigations revealed that two days before the murder, Chowdhury was threatened by society members that he would also lose his job soon as there were many complaints against him by the residents,” said a senior police officer investigating the case.
According to the police, the murder took place between 10.30 am, when Mumtaz last spoke to her husband on the phone, and12.30 pm, when her husband called her again, but the call went unanswered.
Chowdhury, police said, used three knives for killing the woman.
“The first knife broke while he tried to stab her, and the second knife was not sharp enough. The third knife was used to used to slit her throat,” said a senior police officer.
According to the police, Chowdhury did not steal anything from the house, but added that Mumtaz was a ‘soft target’ and was hence made the victim.
“Chowdhury knew where all the CCTVs in the building were and entered the flat avoiding the cameras. Soon after Mumtaz let him in, he attacked her by banging her head on the door, trying to get her unconscious. He then tied her hands and went to the kitchen to get the murder weapon,” said the officer.