A 34-year-old married woman was strangled to death, allegedly by her husband, at her Phase-10 rented accommodation in SAS Nagar.
The body of Harpreet Kaur, alias Seema, was found wrapped in a blanket and a quilt from under a bed of the house she stayed in with her five-year-old son, Karanveer. A dupatta was also found wrapped around the victim's neck.
Seema's husband, Ludhiana resident Rahul Saini, 34, is absconding. Saini runs a business of manufacturing pipe bents and moulds in Ludhiana.
Rahul had dropped his son at his parental home in Ludhiana, after allegedly murdering his wife and deciding to go underground.
The incident came to light, after Seema's parents, who had been trying to contact their daughter since Sunday evening, decided to visit her to invite her to a wedding. However, the residence was found locked.
The parents then called up Seema's in-laws in Ludhiana to know the whereabouts of Rahul and their daughter. They were a little shocked to know that their 5-year-old grandson was in Ludhiana. The child told the set of worried parents that his father, Rahul, had dropped him at her grandparents' place, leaving her mother locked inside the SAS Nagar house.
The police was called and after breaking open the doors, Seema's body was found.
"Rahul is the prime suspect and is absconding. We have dispatched police teams to Ludhiana to nab him. Prima facie, it looks like a case of strangulation as blood was found on her face. Other injuries, if any, would be ascertained in the postmortem. A murder case has been registered against Rahul on complaint of the father of the deceased, Devinder Singh. The five-year-old son of the couple has told his grandparents that he was brought to Ludhiana by his father, even as the mother was left locked inside the house," said SAS Nagar SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar.
Sources in the police said that the mother-in-law and the brother-in-law of the victim had been rounded up. Devinder Singh had named the mother-in-law in his complaint.
Child's testimony holds the key
The testimony of five-year-old Karanveer, who was present in the house at the time of the murder, holds the key to solving the case. At this stage, he is the only witness to the crime.
Victim's father clueless on cause of murder
"I do not know why she has been murdered. My wife spoke to her on Sunday and everything seemed normal. She never complained of any dispute or any tiff with her husband," the victim's father Devinder Singh, an ex-serviceman. Devinder added that he could never imagine that her daughter would be killed by her husband.
A jovial person, say neighbours
Neighbours of the victim say that Seema was a jovial person. They added that her husband Rahul used to visit them for short durations. She used to pay the rent and fees of the child.
"We did not ever hear of any fight between the couple. Only once, about 6 months ago, I heard that Rahul had beaten up Seema. However, when I asked Seema, she said that such tiffs happened in every household. Apparently, Rahul had been forcing her to stay at his parental home, but she had strained relations with her mother-in-law," said a neighbour.
"Every morning Seema used to drop her son to school before going to work at a private firm in Phase VIII. Her father, who stays in Phase 11, used to bring the boy back from school. Whenever, Rahul was visiting her, he used to pick-and-drop the child. She had never complained of strained relations or any problem with her husband," added another neighbour.