A large portrait of Rosamma Joseph, fondly known as Sister Beena, adorns a wall at Golden Park hospital, Navghar, Vasai. More than a month after she was murdered in her home, the police is still clueless. A week ago, locals from a group, Justice to Rosamma Citizen Action Council, wrote to various authorities in the state government, urging them to intervene and find Beena’s murderer.
At 12 noon on April 4, Beena’s son, 16 year-old Aby returned from college and found his mother lying dead. He immediately raised an alarm. When the police arrived on the scene, they noted that Beena’s body was covered in burn injuries, possibly caused by a clothing iron. She had been strangled to death.
As the post mortem report is still pending, it is not clear whether 41 year-old Beena was garroted to death, choked with bare hands or sexually assaulted. Assistant Police Inspector HL Shaikh of the crime branch, who is investigating the case, said, “Beena was always punctual, and would leave the house by 9 am. Her son left at about 8 am. We believe she was murdered between 8 and 9 am. Whoever gained entry to her house was known to her.”
When Sunday Mid Day visited her residence, a secluded area near Vasai Road station, a head constable with the traffic police, said on condition of anonymity, “When the murder took place, my house was under renovation. There were some workers here, and one of them told the police that he saw a man wearing a white shirt leaving the house around 9 am. The front door to my house was ajar, but the worker couldn’t see theman’s face.”
Beena had been working at Golden Park hospital for the past 16 years. She hails from Pulinkunnu village in Allapuzha, Kerala, but had been living in Vasai for at least 25 years. She met and fell in love with her cousin, Sibichan, a mechanic, whom she later married. Sibichan works in Saudi Arabia. The police is probing the possibility of an extra-marital affair gone sour.
Through Beena’s hard work, the couple had accumulated enough money to purchase three flats — one where she was found dead, the other was rented, while the third was in her hometown. A few days before her death, Beena made several transactions through two different bank accounts. The police is investigating whether someone killed her to obtain her property. Beena had outstanding dues on the loans for both the flats at the time of her death.
However, sources claim that the police and Dr Malcolm Pestonji, who runs Golden Park hospital, are hand in glove. Several years ago, Pestonji was detained by police for alleged connections with the underworld. Beena was said to be close to Pestonji, as she ran the entire hospital, even though she was only qualified to be an auxiliary nurse. She even handled receipts and payments of staff. They theorise it is possible that she knew too much.
However, when contacted, Pestonji said, “It is easy for people to make allegations against me merely because I was involved in something a few years ago. I hope that the real killer is caught.”