Mumbai: Stepmother booked for killing 6-year-old mentally unstable girl

Found dead in her house, the girl was tortured, had 20 burn injuries on her body and was allegedly killed by banging her head against the wall

A six-year-old mentally challenged girl was found dead in her Bhandup house on Monday, following which her stepmother was arrested. The cops alleged Pratibha Sawant (25) had been harassing the kid and before killing her she had even inflicted 20 burn injuries on her.

Also Read: Stepmother kills girl, dumps body in a well

Pratibha Sawant. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
Pratibha Sawant. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

According to the police, the deceased Payal Sawant was murdered on Sunday afternoon but they found out only when her father Rajesh tried waking her up on Monday morning.

Pratibha had locked Payal’s elder sister Mayuri in one room and tortured Payal. She inflicted burn injuries on her and killed her by smashing her head on the wall. The accused has been booked under IPC section 302, was produced in Mulund court on Tuesday and remanded under police custody.

Rajesh, a rickshaw driver, used to always bathe her before leaving for work. But on Monday when he tried waking her he saw that she wasn’t responding. He then took her to Agarwal Hospital, where she was declared dead before admission.

Relatives say
Speaking to mid-day, the deceased’s aunt Sunita said, “Pratibha had put the girl’s body on the bed and covered it with a blanket to make it look like she was sleeping. When her father Rajesh came home and asked about Payal, Pratibha claimed that she isn’t well and is sleeping.”

Read Story: Stepmother sets minor girl on fire

Her uncle Sunil said, “The victim was mentally unstable and she was weak from below the waist and needed help in walking. My family and I stay with them, and Pratibha used to regularly assault her. She even came to attack us if we interfered.”

Family tree
Mayuri (8) and Payal (6), were daughters of Rajesh from his first wife, who left them five years ago and eloped with another man. “Since then Rajesh was taking care of them. As Payal needed assistance throughout the day, he wasn’t able to go to work.

So he remarried two years ago and before marrying Pratibha he even asked her to promise him to take care of his daughters,” said a neighbour. It was Pratibha’s second marriage too and she had two kids from her first husband. “We were always there to clean the mess Payal made but even then she used to beat her brutally. She also told Rajesh to put her in some orphanage but he loved her too much and always took good care of her,” added Sunil.

At the time of the incident, Pratibha was alone at home with her two daughters. Deputy Commissioner of police (zone 7) Vinay Kumar Rathod said, “After initial inquiry, we had got certain leads following which we interrogated Pratibha who confessed the crime and was arrested later.”

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