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Domestic helps kill yet another employer

65-year-old spinster murdered by her two servants, a day before she was to register their details with the police

In spite of the intensified drive by the Mumbai police to register domestic helps after two murder cases in Juhu and Santacruz, there was yet another murder reported from Juhu where a 65-year-old woman was allegedly killed and looted by her servants on Monday afternoon.


Crime spot: Police at Anand Society in JVPD Scheme, where Bharti
Shah (65) was found murdered in her first floor apartment


According to the Juhu police, the incident came to light when the deceased's sister came to visit her and found her body in her first-floor apartment in Anand Society in JVPD Scheme. The deceased, identified as Bharti Kishanchand Shah, was a spinster. She stayed alone, and had not even got the chance to register the servants, whom she had employed not more than a week ago. The police suspect that the accused knew their employer would want to register them, and as such, killed her before their details could reach the police.

The Juhu police officers investigating the case said that Shah, who was an architect at the JJ School of Art, usually worked from home, and did not venture out much. She had three sisters and two brothers. Her elder sister, who stays in Andheri, was the only visitor she received. The sister, requesting anonymity, told the police that on Sunday night, she called Shah several times but did not receive any answer. The next morning, when her calls went unanswered, she called up Shah's neighbour and asked them to check on her. When they informed her that nobody was answering the door, she rushed to her apartment.

She opened the door with a spare key to the apartment and found Shah dead: her mouth was gagged with a dupatta. On reaching the spot, the police found Shah's cupboards ransacked and the gold bangles from her hand missing. The robbers, however, did not take the diamond earrings that she was wearing.

She told the police that Shah had employed two domestic helps whose names she did not know. "Shah had first employed one person on the reference of her client. When he complained that he could not do the household work alone, she asked him to find another one. On Saturday, Shah had called me after the society chairman gave her a notice to get the domestic helps registered at the police station. She told me that she would do it in a day or two," said Shah's sister.

"The residents of the society told us that although they knew Shah had employed domestic helps, they were not aware of their names. They had not even seen them," said Vishwas Nangre-Patil, additional commissioner of police (west region). "We have registered a case of murder against unidentified persons and are tracing the two main suspects in the case who are the domestic helps," the official added.

Police drive
Taking a lesson from the recent spate of murders involving domestic helps -- especially the brutal killing of 43-year-old Kavita Suchak in Juhu on August 30 -- cops in the western suburbs made it mandatory for all residents to submit records of their domestic helps. "If the domestic help has a village address, we will verify it by sending a request to the particular authority anywhere in the country, and even in Nepal. Only after the address is verified will the help be allowed to work in the city," said Vishwas Nangre-Patil, Addl CP (West Region).

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