A 71-year-old resident of Guru Nanak Nagar in Khar (West) was made to consume 30 sleeping pills by her caretaker, who then walked away with gold worth Rs 5 lakh and Rs 60,000 in cash from her home. Meherunnisa Khan, who suffers from arthritis, regained consciousness only after four days at Holy Family Hospital, after her neighbour found her unconscious. The Bandra police arrested the caretaker from Chhattisgarh last morning.
Meherunnisa Khan, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, has been bedridden for the past 20 years. Pic/Satyajit Desai
The crime was committed on December 23 at her flat in Jyoti Sadan building. Sangita Alfans Kerketta (30), Khan’s caretaker, offered her milk that was spiked with 30 sleeping pills. “She (Kerketta) had left the house keys and the contact number on the door of the house. The next day, I noticed that the door to Mrs Khan’s house had not been opened for long. I opened the door and found her lying unconscious. I rushed her to Holy Family Hospital,” said the victim’s next-door neighbour Mohini Jiwnani.
Meherunnisa Khan has been living alone at the mercy of caretakers. Pic/Satyajit Desai
Jiwnani stated that the pills belonged to her, and since she was addicted to them, her husband had kept them in Khan’s house. There were eight different kinds of drugs, and 30 pills in all. All of them have been missing since the date of the incident. “Only God knows from how long she had been mixing the pills in my food and milk. In the month of November, soon after Kerketta joined as my caretaker, I had a similar attack. I was rushed to the hospital then and treated immediately, and we assumed it happened because of weakness,” said Khan.
Khan added, “To prove that she was a good worker, she cleaned the house two days before administering the pills to me. I never suspected her because she stayed on in November, after giving me the pills for the first time.” Khan, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, has been bedridden for the past 20 years. Her only son, Sajid Khan, is employed as a landscape manager in an American company based in Saudi Arabia.
For the last 20 years, Khan has been living alone in the city, at the mercy of caretakers. Kerketta was employed in the month of November on a monthly salary of Rs 7,000. “My son visits me once in a year and stores all my requirements in the house. For daily chores, I have to depend on the caretakers,” Khan said.
Kerketta also stole new clothes and utensils. According to Jiwnani, Kerketta had called the next morning to find out how Khan was. “She enquired with me about the ‘aunty’ and I told her that whatever she did was very wrong. But she immediately disconnected the phone.” After Jiwnani informed Khan’s son about the incident, her daughter-in-law Sumaiya flew back to India and is now tending to the elderly woman’s needs.
Following the complaint made by Khan’s relatives, cops have taken serious note of the incident and had booked Kerketta on charges of attempt to murder. Assistant Police Inspector Mukul Yadav of Bandra police station said, “We came to know after investigations that the accused had fled to Chhattisgarh. We tracked her down and arrested her this morning. She has confessed to giving the pills to Khan.
But, she has not opened up about the belongings that were stolen from Khan’s residence.” The caretaker has been arrested under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 328 (causing hurt by means of poison), 381 (theft by clerk or servant of property in possession of master) and 24 (dishonesty) of the IPC.
The cocktail of anti-depressants, anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety drugs administered to Khan included tablets of:
Trika SR .5
Speaking to MiD DAY about the effects of the drugs, Dr Ashish Tiwari, CEO of Zynova Hospitals, said, “In case of overdose, there may be drowsiness, lethargy, cardiovascular and respiratory depression, hypotonia, coma and death.”