iconimg Saturday, September 05, 2015

Avantika Mehta, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 09, 2014
He had raped his 81-year-old employer before strangling her with his bare hands and setting her on fire, a 21-year-old domestic help, accused in a gruesome murder in Greater Kailash-2, told a Delhi court on Wednesday. Neeraj Saki was produced before metropolitan magistrate Anu Aggarwal by Delhi Police after being arrested on Tuesday.

Narrating the sequence of events to the judge, Saki – who had been working for the victim over the last ten months – said he had sexually assaulted the woman, killed her, then placed the body under a blanket on her bed and set it ablaze to destroy evidence. After this he appropriated some valuables from the house, he added.

Stating that they needed to recover these stolen articles, the police sought custodial interrogation of Saki, a resident of Madhubani in Bihar.

The court granted the investigators four days with the accused.

The 81-year-old widow was living on the ground floor of her south Delhi home.

On Monday evening, the fire department was called to the residence by Saki, who had reported a fire. Upon arriving, firefighters found the partially burnt body in the master bedroom with the air conditioner still on.  The victim’s daughter, who lived with her, was not present at the time.

The woman was rushed to the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where she was declared brought dead.

Because Saki appeared to be calm and collected during their initial interaction, police did not immediately apprehend foul play. But during post-mortem, doctors noticed strangulation marks around the woman’s neck.

It was then that the needle of suspicion turned towards the house help.

According to police officials, after they called him in for questioning Saki broke down and confessed.

Violence against women in India has spiked in recent times – the number of rapes rose by 35.2 per cent in 2013, according to National Crime Records Bureau.

Living up to its dubious distinction of being the ‘nation’s rape capital’, Delhi reported the highest number of rapes – 1,441 – in an Indian city in 2013. In the first four months of 2014, six rapes and fourteen cases of molestation were reported every day.

Rising number of crimes against the elderly has also been a cause for concern. NCRB data shows 32,496 senior citizens were murdered across India from 2001 to 2010.