Mumbai Crime: Debt-ridden couple who murdered neighbour was inspired by TV shows

Updated: Dec 11, 2019, 12:33 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

The couple was arrested by the police on Sunday and the gold jewellery worth Rs 2.90 lakhs have been retrieved from their possession.

This picture has been used for representational purposes.
This picture has been used for representational purposes.

A debt-ridden couple, killed their septugenerian neighbour in a bid to steal and sell her gold jewellery in Bhiwandi, and disposed off her body in a lake last month, police said on Tuesday.

The accused couple, identified as Somnath Wakade, a driver and his wife Neelam, an anganwadi teacher, were reeling under debts worth Rs 2.5 lakh after purchasing a two-storey house, a car, an iPhone and an air conditioner, The Indian Express reported.

The couple was arrested by the police on Sunday and the gold jewellery worth Rs 2.90 lakh has been retrieved from their possession.

The victim, Sonubai Choudhari was last seen on November 21 visiting Neelam after lunch. When she did not come home, Choudhari’s son Manik filed a missing complaint. The same day, villagers spotted a body floating in a lake, six kilometres away from the spot, at Wadhunavghar and informed the police.

The police said that Manik identified the body to be of his mother’s after which the body was sent for postmortem. It was revealed that the she had suffered a hard blow on her head with a blunt object.

According to the police, the couple claimed that they decided to steal from Choudhari as she used to wear gold jewellery often, making them assume that she would wear the jewellery at her home too, said police.

Police also said that Neelam, who was inspired from crime-based shows she watched on television for two years, to commit the crime, hit Choudhari on her head with a wooden washing bat, killing her instantly. Somnath then removed her gold ornaments, loaded the body in his car, drove to Wadhunavghar and dumped the body in a lake. The police also examined the CCTV footage of area and spotted Somnath driving his car to Wadhunavghar. His cell phone location was also found to be near the lake where Choudhari’s body was dumped.

The police also investigated the debts the Wakades were reeling under, in which it was found that they had accumulated a debt of Rs 2.5 lakhs in a year and were unable to pay it off their incomes. They were not able to even make ends met with their combined incomes. The reason behind the purchases is also being investigated, said an officer from the local crime branch.

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