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Mumbai crime: 70-yr-old found gagged, murdered in Mulund flat

A paltry sum of Rs 1,400 and her fake earrings are reported missing, giving rise to speculation that an insider may have killed her and made it look like a robbery

A 70-year-old woman was found dead in her kitchen with her mouth stuffed and hands tied on Wednesday evening.

70-year-old Mulund resident Laxmi Maruti Naik was found dead in her flat on Wednesday. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
70-year-old Mulund resident Laxmi Maruti Naik was found dead in her flat on Wednesday. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

Police said prima facie investigations reveal that the victim died of suffocation with robbery as the motive, as some cash and valuables are missing from the flat. However, with only R1,400 cash missing along with the fake earrings that she was wearing, police haven’t ruled out the hand of an insider.

The senior citizen has been identified as Laxmi Maruti Naik, who resided with her younger sister, Lillapa Naik, at Pragati Co-operative housing society in Mulund (East). The murder is reported to have taken place between 8.30 and 10.30 pm, while Lillapa stepped out for her daily work.

Police sub-inspector Arundatti Varekar, from Navghar police station, said, “Lillapa does household work and had left home at her usual time on Wednesday, leaving her sister at home.” According to the police, the victim’s granddaughter, Kavita Katne, arrived a little later to check up on her. But since the door was not being opened after a few knocks, she decided to go down and wait for Lillapa.

The victim’s daughter Lata Katne, who resides with her family in the vicinity, said, “We usually keep visiting my mother’s residence in order to check on her. My daughter had come to give her a massage, as my mother was paralysed from the right side. After Lillapa arrived, Kavita took the keys and hurriedly opened the door.

She found her grandmother lying inside the kitchen, with her hand tied and mouth stuffed with a cloth.” The local police were informed at about 11 pm, after which a police team comprising of forensic officials and a sniffer dog was dispatched to the spot.

The sniffer dog led the cops towards Mulund railway station, indicating that the perpetrator may have boarded a train after committing the crime. Cops are now collecting CCTV footage from the area. Lata added that the neighbours did not see anyone entering or leaving the flat.

The victim is survived by her two daughters and two daughter-in–laws. Her husband and two sons died some time ago. The Navghar police have registered a case under sections 302, 397 and 452 of the Indian Penal Code, and have formed several teams to trace the accused.

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