Five days after 56-year-old Bhandup resident Sangeeta Sawant was found murdered at her flat, Crime Branch officials claimed to have solved the case with the arrest of her brother-in-law yesterday. The sleuths nabbed accused Santosh Sawant and handed him over to the Kanjurmarg police for further investigation.
Police said the accused, an auto rickshaw driver, killed Sangeeta, a housewife, to repay a debt he had accumulated due to his gambling and drinking addictions. Police have recovered part of the Rs 3.5 lakh valuables from Santosh, which he stole after murdering his sister-in-law. Santosh, who is the brother of Sangeeta’s husband, was interrogated after the killing, and confessed to his crime after questioning, police said.
On April 26, the body of Sangeeta was found in a pool of blood by her 30-year-old son at their first floor flat in Amardeep Apartments at Bhandup (E), after he returned from work. The cupboard containing gold ornaments worth Rs 3.5 lakh was ransacked and the valuables were missing.
According to the police, a pair of hand gloves, a cotton material, and a plastic bag was among the things found at the scene of the crime. Following some clues that indicated the involvement of a plumber, they detained a local plumber, but could not find anything conclusive, and he was later released.
The CCTV camera installed at the building also drew a blank. The police then turned their focus of investigation towards the family members. Police said they found something amiss when they interrogated Santosh. “There was an injury mark on his hand, and when asked about it, he told us that he hurt himself after his rickshaw tipped to the ground,” said a police officer.
Police said that they smelt a rat and started questioning him intensely. “The accused broke down and confessed to the crime,” said the police officer. Sawant is a resident of Gorai and an alcoholic and a gambler, police said. Officials said that a few days prior to the killing, Santosh had visited the deceased’s residence and asked her for Rs 10,000. “When Sangeeta refused to give him the money, they had a heated argument, and the accused then plotted the murder and robbery,” said the police officer.