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Couple found hacked to death at their home; Rs 12.5 L missing

A man and his wife were found murdered yesterday at their home in Sterling Heights in Warje-Malwadi. The suspects are a 21-year-old cook and a 22-year-old engineering student, who lived with the family for the past five years.

The deceased have been identified as Kamalakar Ranjeri (55) and his wife Shimala (50). The police said they believed a third person was also involved in the murder. They said that after hacking the couple to death, the assailants ran away in car of the deceased.

The police said they believed Rs 12.5 lakh that was received in cash by the deceased as a token amount for their flat, which they had sold to a person a few days ago, was also missing from the flat.


Foul play: Police officials conduct investigations at the flat of Kamalakar and Shimala Ranjeri yesterday; (below) the Sterling Heights housing society in Warje-Malwadi, where the murder took place. PIC/Sandip Kolhatkar

The door of the flat where the incident took place was found open around midnight by the chairman of the society and some neighbours when they rushed to the Ranjeri residence after hearing a commotion.  The police said that Kamalakar had a travel agency in the city. They said Kamalakar hailed from Karnataka while his wife hailed from Nepal.

The absconding suspects were identified by the police as Sunny Lamba, who was working as a cook and house servant with the Ranjeris, and Dilbahadur Tamang, a mechanical engineering student from a reputable college.

“At 1.30 am on Tuesday, the police control room received a call from the chairman of Sterling Heights, Manohar Salunke, who said that a theft had taken place at the Ranjeris’ flat as the main door was open and only the iron grill door was closed,” Assistant Commissioner of Police K C Lawange of the Kothrud-Deccan division said. “When a police team reached there and entered the room, we found Kamalakar lying in a pool of blood in the hall and his wife Shimala in the bedroom with blood all over her body.”

He said there were multiple stab wounds on the bodies. “Salunke, who had informed us, told us about the family and said that there were two youths living with the couple and that one of them was a student of engineering and was acquainted with Shimala as he also hailed from Nepal,” Lawange said. “He had come to the city for doing his engineering and received shelter at the family’s residence.”

He said that Salunke also told the police that on December 14 Kamalakar had sold the flat to someone in Warje for Rs 42 lakh and was planning to shift into a rented flat in the same area.

“Salunke told us that Kamalakar had received Rs 12.50 lakh from the person he had sold the flat to and we suspect that the duo we suspect, along with one more accomplice, knew that a large sum of money was in the house,” Lawange said. “Out of greed, they might have killed the couple and fled away in the car with the cash.”

The complainant in the case, Salunke, said, “I got a call from one Omkar Gadre, who stays adjacent to the building, and he told me that he had heard a big noise that had woken him up. Gadre told me that as the noise seemed to be of a car banging into something, he got up and went outside to find out what was happening. He saw three people running away in Kamalakar’s car from the building premises.”

Salunke said that Gadre then saw the lights of the Ranjeris’ flat were on and the main door was open while the security door was partially closed. “After Gadre called me, both of us went down and saw the door open, but we did not enter the flat as it would not be appropriate to enter someone’s flat without permission. Later I tried to call Kamalakar on his cell number, but it was switched off,” Salunke said.

He said that he and Gadre thought the flat was being burgled and immediately called up the police control room.  “We received a rude shock when we saw Kamalakar and his wife lying in a pool of blood with multiple stabs on their bodies when police came in,” Salunke said.

Lawange said that the police had found the car outside the Lonavla bus stand, where the assailants had abandoned it. “We have received information that Dilbahadur was acquainted with the family and was living there as a family member and Sunny was working there as cook and house servant for five years,” Lawange said.

“As there are no relatives of the deceased over here, the bodies have not been handed over to anyone after the post-mortem. We have informed Kamalakar’s family in Karnataka and they are on their way to the city.”  

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