'Boys showed no sign of remorse'

Says superintendent of Dongri remand home, where the two 16-year-olds charged with the murder of 67-year-old Sarla Patel are currently lodged

Horrifying: Ankur Patel and his friend Raju Shah allegedly murdered Sarla Patel (inset) last Friday, in order to rob her.

"I killed my grandmother. I was afraid that she would divulge to others that my friend and I had stolen valuables from her house. We tied up her legs, and wound a nylon string around her neck. She fell unconscious.
To make sure she was dead, we slit her throat with a kitchen knife." These were the chilling revelations made by Ankur Patel and his friend Raju Shah (names changed), both 16-year-olds, to child welfare officials at a Dongri observation home, where they are lodged at present. The duo allegedly murdered Ankur's grandmother brutally last Friday, in order to rob her.

Last evening, parents of both the boys visited them at the observation home. After this, they moved a bail application before the juvenile court, which will give an order on September 26, which is also the date on which the probation officer is expected to file his comments on the bail petition.

SA Jadhav, superintendent at the children's home, confirmed the development, saying, "Both the boys have been accommodated in a special room, earmarked for juveniles who are under trial. At present, there are 36 undertrial juveniles at the home, but Ankur and Raju are two of the only four youngsters who are being tried on charges of murder. The other delinquents at the home have been accused of crimes that include rape, theft, pick pocketing and assault."

Starting from today, Ankur and Raju will be given lessons on sewing and will also be allowed to read their textbooks. They will be monitored round-the-clock, and will have to strictly observe the rules and regulations of the home. The boys will have to attend counseling sessions at the child guidance clinic inside the remand home.

"The boys show no signs of remorse over their actions. Even their parents appeared to have come to terms with the fact that their children were the perpetrators of such a dastardly act. They assured the boys that they would get them out soon, merely telling them that they should never repeat the act," said Jadhav.

Child welfare officers were shocked when they learnt that Ankur had even attended his grandmother's funeral, hours after killing her. In hindsight, the only sign of nerves that they showed was when they both skipped dinner that night.

The duo made a meagre investment of Rs 30 before committing the crime: they purchased a pair of hand gloves for Rs 20, and a nylon rope for Rs 10 from a market in Malad.

In course of interrogation, Raju revealed that he had lain in bed sleepless after the murder, not because he was suffering from pangs of remorse, but because he was afraid that the robbed booty in his bag would be discovered by his parents, in case they rummaged through it.

Police officials investigating the case revealed that the boys were lusting after a motorcycle, and committed the murder so they could get their hands on the cash stored in the victim's almirah, with which to purchase the object of their desires. "Prima facie, it appears that there was no love lost between Ankur and his grandmother," revealed an official.

Forensics findings
A forensic expert who conducted the autopsy of the victim's body at the Bhagwati postmortem centre, said that the left anterior neck had an incision wound. A well-defined sharp ligature mark was also visible on the anterior neck.  These signs revealed that the assailant was confused, as he wasn't sure if the victim should be killed by strangulation or by incision. The incisions were not deep enough, and indicate that the assailant was not a professional. The knife used to slit the victim's throat was not very sharp, and the nature of the injuries suggested that two assailants were involved in the crime. The final cause of death was attributed to ' strangulation with cut throat injuries.'

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