By Rohit Alok
A day after a 45-year-old housewife was found dead in her apartment in a Borivali high-rise in the afternoon, the police on Saturday questioned two watchmen of the building for leads on those who might have entered the building when the crime was committed. While one watchman was on duty when the crime took place, the other has told crime branch officers that he had stepped out for lunch at the time.
The police also said the postmortem reports confirmed that Seema Patade was smothered to death by a pillow.
“We have recovered the pillow with the victim’s blood stains on them. We also found two used cups on the table in the living room. The CCTV footage of the place has also been collected,” said Balsingh Rajput, Deputy Commissioner of Police, (Zone 11).
Rajput said a finger-prints analyst had been roped into the investigation. “The accused would have left prints somewhere in the house. There is a handle on the main door that the accused would have had to pull to shut the door behind, but those prints might be hard to get as there could be prints from the victim’s daughter too on them. We will take the finger prints of all the relatives of the deceased,” said Rajput.
The officer also said the victim probably knew the accused, as that might have prompted her to open the single main door. The two used cups also indicated that the accused was no stranger to her, the police said.
“We are still trying to determine how the accused reached the house of the victim. There is a possibility that the accused entered from the gate near the B-wing, went upstairs to the first floor of the wing and walked across the passage that connects the two wings. The accused could have later taken a lift to the 11th floor, where the victim lived. The guard on duty stays in between the two wings,” said Rajput.
There are two entrances to the building, with a gate on either side of the two lobbies. There are CCTVs cameras pointing at the two gates, as well as the entrance of the two lobbies.
While the Borivali police are making inquiries with one watchman, Unit 11 of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch is questioning the other.
“I found Patade lying dead in her night gown on the right side of her bed, with blood oozing from her nose. There was a pillow next to her with blood stains on it,” said a resident of the same building.
The victim’s daughter was the first to see the body at 4 pm on Friday. The victim’s husband, Jaiprakash Patade (63), a retired government official, had gone to his native place in Konkan on August 24. The family of three had been residing on the 11th floor of Krishna Classic building in Borivali west for the past one year.
The unidentified accused has been charged with murder, intention to hurt, and trespassing under the Indian Penal Code.