Mumbai: Suspect caught on CCTV hurrying out of building after 77-yr-old's murder

Cops are unable to identify the killer as the CCTV footage has not captured his face; they suspect robbery to be the motive

A day after a 77-year-old woman was brutally murdered in her home in Matunga, the police are yet to establish either the identity of the killer or his motive. All they know for sure, thanks to CCTV footage, is that the suspect is aged around 30-35 years.

Manjula Vora was found in a pool of blood on her kitchen floor in her fifth-floor flat at Pranav Residency on Monday
Manjula Vora was found in a pool of blood on her kitchen floor in her fifth-floor flat at Pranav Residency on Monday. (top right) Manjula Vora

Prima facie, it seemed to be a robbery, but until they have evidence to support this theory, the police are investigating several angles, including a property dispute or dishonest house help.

The victim is Manjula Vora (77), who lived with her mentally challenged brother in flat number 502 in Pranav Residency at Bhimani street, Matunga east.

Manjula was well to do and owned the entire building until it went in for redevelopment five years ago. Her husband, NM Vora, was a well-known steel merchant who died several years ago. The cops suspect she might have been the victim of either a robbery or a property dispute.

She spent most of her time at home, apart from daily visits to a nearby temple in the mornings. She has a daughter who lives in Juhu and a sister in Lalbaug. On Monday evening, Manjula was found dead on her kitchen floor, her throat slit and her body in a pool of blood. Manjuben lived with her younger brother, who is mentally challenged, and a family doctor visited the house frequently to check him.

Her brother, Ravi Lal (70) was also in the flat at the time of the murder but is wheelchair-bound and cannot speak. The sole witness, who is also the complainant in the case, is Manjula’s family doctor Dilip Shaha. Around 7.30 pm on Monday, Dr Shaha went to check on Manjula’s brother, who had complained of swollen legs. When there was no response to the doorbell, he asked the watchman what was wrong.

The watchman then called on the intercom and a stranger – the suspect – answered the call. Dr Shaha went back upstairs to the apartment and the suspect then opened the door and told the doctor that Manjula was in the bathroom.

As Dr Shaha looked for her, the stranger used this chance to escape. Shaha finally found Manjula dead in the kitchen, and alerted the neighbours and police. “After we reached the crime scene, we checked the CCTV footage in the premises. There are about three CCTV cameras in the locality that captured the suspect, but he was facing downwards and also wore a cap to hide his face. We also gathered a few clues with the help of a sniffer dog,” said an official from the Matunga police station, where a case was registered under Sections 302 (murder) and 449 (house-trespass) of the IPC.

Other angles
The cops also discovered that Manjula had hired a domestic help who had quit the job some six months ago. They are pursuing this lead and are also trying to investigate whether the victim had any personal enmity with anyone.

However, her neighbours doubt she was murdered because of enmity, as she is known as a kind and helpful woman.

“The incident has shocked all of us, as she was a very kind lady and was very helpful to people,” said one of the residents in the building.

Another resident added, “I don’t think Manjulaben had any sort of dispute with anyone. On Monday evening, we came to know about the incident after police reached her house. The door to her flat was open.

When the police checked the house, they found Manjula dead and the CCTV recorded a middle-aged man leaving the building in a hurry. He was wearing a cap and had a bag with him.”

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