A suspended government employee, dealing in real estate, his wife and son were found murdered in their central Delhi home on Sunday morning, a crime police suspect to be a fallout of a property dispute.
Sanjay Sonaria, 51, his wife Jyoti, 45, and their 20-year-old son Pawan, a student of engineering, were all strangled with pieces of clothing that were found wrapped around their necks by police in their Old Rajinder Nagar apartment.
“The murders seem to have been committed on Saturday night. We have begun questioning victims’ relatives, neighbours and family friends,” joint commissioner of Police SK Gautam said. Jyoti’s mother Swadesh, who lives in the neighbourhood, told police that she last spoke to her daughter at around 9pm on Saturday.
The murders were discovered when the family’s domestic help came for work at around 8.30am. On finding the door ajar, she entered the main bedroom and found Jyoti unconscious on the floor, police said. Pawan was lying next to her on a mattress with his hands tied.
The help ran out to alert Jyoti’s mother and police were called who thought it to be a double murder committed by the husband. But, an hour later, they found Sanjay’s body stuffed in a closet in the next room.
Initially probe was pointing towards a property dispute or personal enmity. Investigators have learnt that Sonaria, detained by the CBI in a corruption case, had at least 12 cases of cheating and forgery against him in different police stations of Delhi.
He was also fighting a property case against his younger brother, police said, adding Sonaria had his fare share of disagreements with local property dealers and investors.
“We are probing the case from all angles and several people are being questioned,” Parmaditya, DCP (central), said.
Police believe that the killers — at least four in number — were known to the family as there were no signs of forced entry into the third-floor home.
The entire house was ransacked, which, investigators suspect, was an attempt to make the murders look like a robbery gone wrong.
“We have learnt that the building (6/72) in which the crime took place too is a disputed property. Sonarias had sold the property but were not vacating it,” Deepak Mishra, special commissioner of police (law and order), said.
A CCTV installed in the lane that could have offered some clues was not working.