After slaying 55-year-old woman and her 3-year-old granddaughter, murderer kept cops thinking that 'a woman' who last visited them was the culprit
Almost five months after the double murder of a woman and her granddaughter in Sion Koliwada, Unit II of Mumbai Crime Branch have finally solved the case with the arrest of a 21-year-old who they did not suspect earlier because he is a homosexual, cops said.
Imaging/ Jishu Dev Malakar
The murder of Ranjana Nagalkar (55) and Vaishnavi Raikar (3) took place in June but cops were taken in by the disarming ways of the accused, Vishal Rajendra Shrivastava.
"As he was homosexual, nobody suspected him of committing such a serious crime," said PSI Bhaskar Kadam.
Further, cops had come to know that the last person to visit Ranjana in her house in Indranagar Cooperative Society was a woman, and suspected her. But in fact, the woman was Vishal clad in a sari.
On June 3, Ranjana's daughter Sheetal called the Antop Hill police, saying she found the bodies of her mother and daughter in a pool of blood. Jewellery worth Rs 3.6 lakh and Rs 4,000 in cash were reported missing. After the death of Ranjana's husband and son, she had been staying with Sheetal, her husband Santosh, and their daughter Vaishnavi.
"The murders were very gruesome. Somebody had slit the throats of both the victims in the afternoon. The three-year-old was also killed brutally. The floor was carpeted with blood," said Jt CP (Crime) Himanshu Roy.
Shooting in dark
The police had immediately formed three teams to probe the case. Fingerprints of around 250 residents of the building were taken; most residents were called to the police station. Police even interrogated Santosh, but came up with nothing.
After killing Ranjana, Vishal tries to convince Vaishnavi for an hour that she fell down and died
They could only learn that a woman had last visited the house. Then, the needle of suspicion pointed to Ranjana's maid Pushpa and her husband Chingalya, who has a criminal background. But police did not find anything incriminating against them either. MiD DAY had reported about the incident on June 5.
Queering the pitch
The police also interrogated Vishal, the victims' neighbour, but he told them that he had gone to CST at the time of the murder. He also made apparent his orientation. "As he was gay, nobody doubted him of killing the two. He was let off by around five police teams during interrogations," said Kadam.
But in later investigations, CB officers found Vishal's behaviour suspect, as he suddenly started splurging on brand new phones and other items.
The 3-year-old, who has seen him pound her with dumbbells, refuses to believe him. Frustrated, Vishal slits her throat to get rid of the witness
"We learnt from his friends that he bought a new phone and changed numbers at least twice every month since the murders.
We knew that he was unemployed. So where did he get the money to buy the phones?" said Senior Inspector Nishikant Patil.
He then drapes a sari to shroud blood stains on his clothes and flees with the valuables, incognito
After finding discrepancies in his statements, a police team reached Kanpur, where Vishal had shifted some time ago, and brought him to Mumbai yesterday. After he confessed during questioning, they arrested him.
They came to know Vishal was treated like kin in Ranjana's house. He used to call on her almost daily. But he took advantage of the trust the family reposed in him and decided to rob them after slaying them.
A day before the murders, Vishal came up with an outlandish plan to kill the two, which did not work. On June 2, he killed a lizard, mixed its insides in milk, and added saffron to it to cover the taste.
He then tried giving it to Ranjana and Vaishnavi (in pic) in the misguided belief that it would poison them. But neither even consumed the drink.
Lies didn't work on little girl
"But the day after, when Ranjana was sleeping, he attacked her with a dumbbell. She shouted for Vaishnavi to run, but the three-year-old witnessed him as he pounded her repeatedly.
She asked Vishal, 'Why did you kill my grandmother?' Since Vishal did not want to kill her, he tried convincing her that her grandmother had died after falling to the floor. But the three-year-old did not buy it.
After an hour, when he could not convince her, he slit her throat. After robbing the house, he draped a sari to hide the many blood stains on his clothes, and fled the crime scene," said PSI Kadam of Unit II of Crime Branch.
After further investigations, police learnt that Vishal wanted the money to party and splurge on branded clothes and other items.