Three-state manhunt nets Monika Ghurde’s killer; police say the accused killed her in a fit of rage after she pulled him up for stealing her umbrella
Rajkumar Singh and Monika Ghurde
All the police had to do to track down celebrity perfumer Monika Ghurde’s killer was follow the simple breadcrumbs trail he left behind. How? After strangulating her, he took her cellphone and two ATM cards and used them uninhibited. He was ultimately arrested in Bengaluru.
Three days after her naked body was found in her apartment in Sangolda village, Goa, the police — in a joint operation between Goa, Mangalore and Bengaluru teams — nabbed one Rajkumar Singh, a 21-year-old Bhatinda native, in Bengaluru. He was a security guard and had worked in Sapna Raj, the building complex where Ghurde was living in and planning to move out of.
Tracking the trail
“Keeping in mind the background of the deceased, we were working on different aspects. We had also considered her social life,” Deputy Inspector General of Police Vimal Gupta said, adding that besides the local police, Goa Crime Branch was also roped in.
Singh became the main suspect after he withdrew cash from an ATM machine in Porvorim, just 5 km from the scene of the crime, on the morning of October 6. The police then procured CCTV footage from the ATM booth and identified him with the help of a photo available with them in a tenant verification form submitted to Porvorim Police.
Later, while tracking her card swipes and phone use, the police managed to spot him in a CCTV grab in Bengaluru while he was checking in and out from a hotel there. “The accused was arrested from Bengaluru, where he had checked into a hotel after committing the crime,” the IPS officer said.
According to the Goa police, “It’s a case of murder and robbery so far, as rape is yet to be medically proven. While we had managed to trace him in Mangalore earlier, he managed to escape from there using her money.”
Read Story: Naked, bound body of celeb perfumer found at Goa home, rape suspected
The police also clarified that “Singh suffocated the victim to death by using a pillow”.
Motive for murder
According to a witness statement to the police, “In August, Singh had stolen her umbrella that was later found in his possession. A heated argument ensued between Ghurde and Singh, following which his services were terminated by the upscale society. However, he had been unable to secure any employment after that and that could be the reason he killed her.” Goa DGP Muktesh Chander, however, added, “There could be another motive too, but it will only be clear after his interrogation.”
- Inputs from Agencies
>> On August 9, 2012, 22-year-old Sajjad Mughal, who was employed as a watchman at the ‘Himalayan Heights’ building in Wadala, Mumbai, murdered and molested lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha in her flat for resisting his advances. He used a duplicate set of keys to enter her house and attempted to force himself on her, which she refused.
>> Three persons were arrested for the murder of 65-year-old Vimla Jaiswal in Versova. The accused, identified as Dharmendra Satyaprakash Singh, who washed vehicles in the building; Sherbahadur Lalitkumar Sahib, a servant working in the building; and Santosh Sharma, the watchman confessed to their crime. In their confession, they revealed that they had been planning to rob the woman for two months.
Rs 1 lakh
Money the killer withdrew from Monika’s accounts