Delhi News : A day after a 70-year-old woman and her 48-year-old daughter-in-law were found murdered at their residence in northeast Delhi’s Welcome area, police arrested a 21-year-old man, said to be a friend of the family, in connection with the case, officials said Wednesday.
The semi-decomposed bodies of Bimla Devi and her daughter-in-law Dolly Rai were found around 4am on Tuesday by Dolly’s sons, Shashank Rai, 26, and Sarthak Rai, 24, after they returned from a three-day vacation in Uttarakhand, police said. The men knocked on the main gate several times and tried to contact their mother and grandmother on their cellphones, but they did not answer. They then opened the gate with a spare key. Shashank went inside first and found his mother lying in a pool of blood on the sofa in the living room on the ground floor of their four-floor building. He rushed out and told Sarthak, who went up to the first floor, where he found his grandmother dead on the bed.
Police received a call about the murders at 4.20am. A police team reached the house and found Dolly’s semi-decomposed body, with multiple stab wounds in the abdomen, on a sofa on the ground floor. They found Bimla stabbed and smothered to death with a pillow in her bed on the first floor.
Police then registered a murder case and began an investigation.
The family owns a religious goods business in Chandni Chowk. During the probe, Shashank informed investigators that he and his brother had asked their friend Harshit, a resident of Naveen Shahdara, to check up on their mother and grandmother and keep an eye on the house and shop in their absence.
“We were told that Dolly walked her pet dog every morning. But an analysis of footage from CCTV cameras in the area showed she did not step out on the morning of August 14. She was last seen with Harshit at a neighbourhood temple on the evening of August 13 ,” deputy commissioner of police (northeast) Sanjay Kumar Sain said.
The women’s family told investigators Bimla was bed-ridden and completely dependent on Dolly–she would call Dolly upstairs 15-20 times a day to tend to her needs. However, when investigators examined Bimla’s call detail records, they found no calls to Dolly after 9pm on August 13. They then concluded that Bimla and Dolly were murdered some time after 9pm on August 13.
When investigators questioned Harshit, he tried to mislead them by continuously changing his version of events; however, he slipped up and mentioned he visited the Rai house on August 14, leading the police to suspect him. Harshit also said he had borrowed ₹4-5 lakh from Shashank and lent it to someone else. He was not able to get the money back and was in dire financial straits.
Investigators then examined the Internet search history on Harshit’s phone and found he had searched for techniques and instruments to detect gold, and for shops where gold is exchanged for cash. “Further analysis of footage from CCTV cameras showed Harshit stepping out of the house carrying something on August 14,” Sain said.
After sustained interrogation, police said, Harshit confessed to his crime. He revealed he had dropped out of a Bachelors course in computer applications, was jobless and in deep debt. “After Shashank and Sarthak asked him to check up on the women while they went on vacation, he hatched a plan to murder them and rob the house. He bought a stainless steel knife and hid it in his scooter. He executed the plan on the night of August 13,” the DCP said.
Police said that he was aware that the CCTV camera fitted in front of the house was not functioning. On August 13, when Dolly returned from the temple, he smothered her face with a pillow and then stabbed her to death. He then went to the first floor and killed Bimla the same way, and locked the pet dog in a room. Later, he ransacked the house in search of money and jewellery, and took everything he could get his hands on. “As part of his plan, he left the door upstairs open so investigators would think someone broke in. After he went back home, he remembered that the CCTV camera installed on the roof of the house was working, so he returned on August 14, snapped the CCTV camera’s wires and left,” the DCP said.