Dad tried to save son who killed granny

Victim's son Pankaj was aware that victim's 16-year-old grandson had murdered his mother; accused learnt how to avoid detection by sniffer dogs from TV series CID

This is family drama, as brutal and morbid as it gets. The police teams investigating 67-year-old Malad resident Sarla Patel's murder have revealed some macabre details of the crime, including the fact that the father of the 16-year-old accused grandson was aware of his son's culpability, but tried to shield him from the cops.

Brutal: Sarla Patel (inset) was found dead at her Malad home

Police sources revealed that from the time of discovering his mother's body, Patel's son Pankaj had been well aware that his son was the culprit. "Whenever we called Pankaj for questioning, he made excuses to wriggle out of giving his statement. He kept saying that he was indisposed or in shock, whenever he was called to the police station. He also tried to divert our attention towards the domestic help," said an officer from Malad police station.

Cops have also concluded that the modus operandi of the crime was could well have been inspired by the television serial, CID. Officials revealed that Patel's 16-year-old grandson learnt how to murder without leaving behind any tell-tale signs from the internet and CID episodes. "The boy didn't share his plans with anybody but his accomplice, who was his childhood friend. Prior to the crime, he spent long hours in front of his television and the internet. We have discovered that he learnt the ropes of his crime from these two sources," said the assistant commissioner of police (crime branch unit XI) Jayant Hergude.

The accused and his accomplice were bosom buddies since childhood, and used to spend a lot of time at each other's homes. "The boy's friend knew that the victim was his friend's grandmother," said PI Chandrakant Gurav, from the Malad police station.

The two boys had meticulously planned the murder, and were looking for a window of opportunity when Sarla would be alone at home. On the fateful day, they waited in the passage of the building for the right time, and entered the flat as soon as the domestic help made an exit. Enraged by his grandmother's earlier refusal to pay him Rs 3 lakh, the boys strangulated her while she was writing prayers on a notebook with a red pen. "The unsuspecting victim tried to resist, leaving behind a few red marks and scratches on the boy's chest," said the police insider.

When Patel resisted the boy's attempts at strangulation, his accomplice held her down while he went to the kitchen and got a vegetable knife, "The knife was not sharp enough, as a result of which the accused had to make three incisions to slice open the victim's neck," added the officer.

The officer added that not only did they wear gloves so as not to leave behind fingerprints; they also managed to mislead the dog squad. "The accused was standing beneath the building when we arrived, but our sniffer dogs could not identify him," he said.

"Whenever we went to the spot to investigate, the accused managed to avoid arousing suspicion. In fact, he even told us that he had anticipated that something terrible would happen on Friday morning," the police officer told MiD DAY. Cops are now investigating to see if any others were involved in the crime.

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