Unlike every day, when four-year-old Tavishi returned from school on Thursday, she did not find her mother waiting for her at the staircase. Little did the nursery student realise that her mother was lying gagged in the house.
Around 1.50 pm, 34-year-old homemaker Manju Joshi’s body was found at her G-92, Nauroji Nagar quarters. Her hands, legs and mouth had been tied with dupattas and there were injury marks on her hands.
“The entry was friendly. Even her jewellery was intact. Looking for something in particular, the killers tampered with just a briefcase, it appears. Manju never opened the door for strangers and used good locks to secure her house, neighbours have told us,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) HGS Dhaliwal said.
Coming home around 12.45 p.m., little Tavishi, a student of Holy Child Auxilium, found the door to her first floor government flat bolted from outside. The driver of the school van blew the horn a number of times and left the child at the staircase when he didn't get a response.
Bhavna Kashyap, an 18-year-old neighbour, contacted Tavishi’s father Mahendra Joshi to inform him about his daughter.
“I told him that Tavishi had been looking for her mother for more than an hour. Mr. Joshi got back after 10 minutes and said Manju’s phone had been switched off,” Bhavna told Hindustan Times.
“My mother and I entered the flat with another neighbour and found Manju’s body in the bedroom,” added Bhavna.
Police have recovered a “blood-stained kitchen knife” and are questioning the husband, who works with the Railways. “He has been giving conflicting statements about the sequence of events,” an officer said.
The police are hoping that the missing mobile phone of the victim may hold vital clues.
They have not been able to recover the phone that is in a “switched off” mode and they suspect the killer might have hidden or destroyed it.
The police also discovered a “strange pattern” in the injuries inflicted on her body. Her arms bear marks of “symmetrical knife injuries”. The “injury marks” were horizontal and exactly at the same spot on both arms. Similar injuries were found on her inner thighs.
The neighbours told the police the couple often broke into fights and that on Wednesday evening also they had an argument. “We are not ruling out a robbery angle however,” said the officer.
Although residents complained that incidents of chain snatching and thefts were quite common in the area, the murder has shocked them. “We had never seen any such incident in our area. Now we are not secure even in our homes,” said Sunil Kumar, a neighbour.