An 83-year-old retired nurse was found smothered to death at her daughter's Vikaspuri flat, where she was living alone for the past 14 years, in the wee hours of Wednesday.
Police said Joginder Kaur was killed in an attempted robbery at her house. Kaur's body was first discovered by her nephew Gurbak Singh, 71, who lives with his family on the ground floor. The incident came to light around 5am. Police have registered a case of robbery and murder.
V Renganathan, additional CP (west), said Kaur was found dead on the floor in her bedroom of the first-floor flat owned by her daughter Japnam Kaur, who is settled in London. Kaur's elder son Preetpal Singh lives in Uttam Nagar, while her younger son is also settled in London. Police said Kaur, who had come to India during Partition, had retired as an assistant nurse with the central government health scheme (CGHS).
"The entire flat was ransacked and so far we have found that her mobile phone and handbag are missing. A bag containing R13,000 in cash, 25 pounds and two gold bangles was found intact," said Renganathan.Police said the entry into the victim's flat was forced. A sheet of glass installed near the door of the drawing room was found broken. Before committing the crime, the assailants had locked the doors of the ground floor as well as second floor flats, police said. Gagandeep Singh, a businessman, lives on the second floor of the three-storey house.
"Prima facie it looks that Kaur had tried to resist the robbery attempt. A severe injury mark on the left side of her face suggested she was pushed towards the floor. She probably tried to raise an alarm and they smothered her using a pillow, which we found near her body," said the senior police officer.
The victim's nephew said as usual he woke up around 4am to watch gurbani kirtan on TV and went to open the doors but found them locked from outside. He said he then repeatedly called Kaur on her mobile phone but didn't get any reply.
Singh said Kaur used to go to Bangla Sahib Gurdwara every morning at 5:30. He used to open all the main doors by 5am so that she could leave for the gurdwara.
"When she didn't respond, I got worried and called Gagandeep. But he said his doors were also locked from outside. Then I used the back door of my house and went to check on my aunt on the first floor," said Singh. He found her body and then called the police.
The victim's neighbours said this is the second robbery in their locality in the past four days. Early on Sunday, a robber had struck one Ajay Pal's house, just four houses away from the victim's residence. He was beaten up by the owner of the house.
"Had Pal not let the robber go and reported the matter to police, Kaur's death could have been avoided," said the senior officer.