The police have arrested the man who brutally attacked a 55-year-old woman and looted her house in Kandivli on Tuesday evening. mid-day had reported the attack, '55-year-old snatches burglar’s knife, locks herself in bathroom' on Thursday.

Sonu Sharma and Mehbooba Sayyed after their arrest, with police officials including API Mahesh Kulkarni (seated)
Sonu Sharma and Mehbooba Sayyed after their arrest, with police officials including API Mahesh Kulkarni (seated)

The man’s mother-in-law, who had befriended the victim’s daughter, has also been held. She had called him from Jammu to commit the crime. They have been identified as Mehbooba Bi Isa Haider Sayyed (40) and Purshottam alias Sonu Madanlal Sharma (35).

Sharma was apprehended by the police at Bandra station in the wee hours of Friday, moments before he could return to Kashmir after committing the crime. The Charkop police also recovered the cash and jewellery he had stolen, along with the knife, which was used to attack the victim. Sharma stayed in Mumbai earlier and is a resident of Sangrampur in Jammu.

He has several cases registered against him in Mumbai railway police stations. Police said he has also been jailed in Mumbai before. According to the police, Mehbooba, who is a former beer bar worker, and the victim Laxmi Premlal Das’ daughter, Rina, became friends through a common friend.

On August 15, Mehbooba met Rina outside her house in Malwani’s Jankalyan Nagar in Charkop, and so Rina invited her (Mehbooba) for a cup of tea. Police said Mehbooba even stayed at Rina’s house that night and noted down the routine of people in and around the house. Then, after hatching a plan, she made a call to her son in-law in Jammu, and told him to come to Mumbai.

The incident
On the day of the crime, Sharma and Mehbooba hired a rickshaw from Bandra and reached Rina’s building. In between, Mehbooba called her several times to confirm whether she was home. When they confirmed that Rina’s mother was alone in the house, they entered the building at around 5 pm.

Mehbooba knew that there were CCTVs in the lift, so they went to the seventh floor by the stairs. She did a recce before sending Sharma to knock the door. He told Das he was a bank employee. After Das told him there was no one home who could speak to him, he asked for a glass of water and later barged inside and assaulted her.

Just when he was about to kill her with a knife, she managed to snatch it, run into the bathroom and lock herself in. According to Assistant Police Inspector Mahesh Kulkarni, when Das locked herself, Sharma called Mehbooba and they started searching the house. He then changed his clothes, which were stained with Das’ blood.

The duo then fled from the house, using the stairs. When Das’ grandson, who had gone to play returned, he heard her screaming from the bathroom. He immediately informed the neighbours. Rina, who was at office was also called, and the police were informed.

The probe
“After acquiring the CCTV footage, we called Rina, who identified the woman. But Rina doesn’t know much about her. We traced the accused through CDR (call detail records),” said Assistant Police Inspector Pradeep Rao Rane.

During the investigation, it came to light that a spiritual guru, who resides in Santacruz was in constant touch with Mehbooba. He told the police that Mehbooba is a resident of a slum at Bandra reclamation. During interrogation, Mehbooba confessed to her crime, after which she was arrested.

The guru, a former BEST employee, had told Mehbooba that she will face hard times in coming days. Senior Inspector Ramchandra Gaikwad of the Charkop police station said, “Our officers arrested both the accused within 12 hours and recovered all the valuables, including the weapon. Both accused were produced before the court on Friday and they have been remanded in police custody till August 24.”