Mumbai: Duo murders retired HC official; wife plays dead, survives

The 78-year-old was murdered in his house at the Parsi colony in Bandra (West), allegedly by the son of a trusted auto driver and his accomplice; they assumed his wife was dead after she didn’t move an inch on being attacked

Safety of senior citizens is once again a concern after a retired man was brutally murdered in his own home in Bandra (West). His wife, too, would’ve been dead, had she not played dead upon being attacked by the duo accused of the murder.

Police managed to recover all the stolen cash and valuables
Police managed to recover all the stolen cash and valuables

The incident occurred on Saturday night at the Tata Parsi colony in Bandra (West), at the residence of Darius Kapadia (78), a retired principal secretary with the Bombay High Court. Darius stayed there with his wife, Lili (74), a former supervisor with TCS. The Kapadias have a 50-year-old daughter who resides alone at Hill Road and runs a catering business.

Lili visits her daughter at least twice every day. The wealthy family has seven servants, and four auto rickshaw drivers have been specifically engaged to ferry Lili between her home and her daughter’s. One of them, Tanaji Navrang, has been with the couple for many years and is very close to the family.

The accused, identified as Jay Navrang (21), Tanaji’s son, and one Kamal Jadhav (20), are both residents of Parel. Jay and Kamal went to visit Darius on Saturday at 9.30 pm, and Darius, seeing it was Tanaji’s son, opened the door. The three of them had dinner and Jay told Darius about his plan of starting a business.

After dinner, Darius told Jay and his friend to wait for Lili while he went to sleep at 11.30 pm. Seeing the opportunity, the duo entered the bedroom and slit Darius’ throat. Just when they were stealing the valuables, Lili returned.

Saving act
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police Vinayak Deshmukh, when Lili returned home, she rang the doorbell, but got no response. Using her duplicate keys, she opened the door and found her husband in a pool of blood in the bedroom. Jadhav was hiding while Jay had covered his face with a green cloth; the latter hit Lili and started demanding money.

As Lili fell on the floor, the accused continued the assault on her; but Lili wisely played dead and didn’t move an inch. A police officer from Bandra police station said, “Had Lili moved, the accused would have surely killed her. They had planned to kill both, and it would have been a double murder.”

Assuming that even she had died of the attack, the duo proceeded to rob R7.5 lakh in cash, 20 grams of gold and a Motorola cellphone worth Rs 8 lakh in all and fled from the house. Lili then informed her neighbours and the police were called. Ramchandra Dhawale, senior police inspector, Bandra police station, said, “Several teams were made to track the accused. All the servants, auto drivers and their kin were questioned.

Police inspectors Rajendra Kane and Milind Desai traced Jay to his residence in Parel, after which the other accused was arrested. Both have been charged with murder and will be produced in the court on Monday.”
Police said Tanaji had been working with the family for several years.

Even Jay had worked as a gardener a few months ago, but he had been passing lewd comments at a girl in the colony. On February 14, he sent a letter to the girl and when the Kapadias came to know of this, they terminated his employment. Enraged at this, Jay plotted revenge with his friend Kamal. The duo had planned to use the money from the robbery to start a business.

Underscoring how close Tanaji was with the family, a neighbour said, “After the murder, Lili called Tanaji and told him to come stay with him since she was feeling lonely and needed his support. Jay was very young when he was introduced to the Kapadias. He grew up in front of them.”

DCP Deshmukh added that the looted cash belonged to a trust in Bandra called Kamalnetri. “The trust helped the poor and needy and the money was to be used for the same. All the stolen valuables have been recovered,” he told mid-day.

The accused were arrested at 2 pm yesterday and booked under Sections 302 (murder), 379 (theft), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery), and 34 (common intention).

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