Mammen, 83, mother of Rebecca John, was found strangled to death in her bedroom in east Delhi’s Vivek Vihar on Tuesday afternoon.
Rebecca is one of the lawyers of dentist couple Nupur and Rajesh Talwar who have been facing trial for the murder of their teenaged daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj Banjade.
The killers used the cord of a mixer-juicer-grinder from her kitchen to strangulate her.
Mammen, an English teacher who retired from Mater Dei Convent, used to live alone on the ground floor of the two-storey house in C-block of Vivek Vihar. Her relatives live on the first floor.
Police suspect robbery as the motive behind the murder.
“We are trying to ascertain whether the murder has any link with the legal battle over the Aarushi murder case, or was it a simple case of robbery-cum-murder,” said a senior investigating officer.
“It seems the killers made a friendly entry into the house. Three cupboards were found open. We have collected all necessary evidences, including fingerprints and then sent the body for autopsy,” said OP Mishra, deputy commissioner of police (east).
It seems that someone rummaged through the cupboards, said another investigating
A close relative of Mammen, who did not wish to be named, said: “It looks like a case of robbery-cum-murder. Around
R1 lakh is missing from the house. She never used to keep any jewellery at home.”
Mishra said the murder took place sometime between
1.30 and 3pm. Police were informed about the incident around 3.30pm by her relatives who live on the Ist floor of the house.
It was a guard in the building, said police, who saw the main gate open and became suspicious. When he went to check on Mammen and did not get any answer from inside, he called her brother-in-law from the first floor and asked him to check if Mammen was in her room, police said.
Mammen, mother of three — two sons and a daughter — used to take private tuitions in English, her neighbour said.
“She used to take a break from tuitions during lunch hours. The incident took place while she was resting at home,” said a relative.
“Her youngest son lives in Australia, while the eldest one is in the United States. The eldest son had come to India a few days ago and left for the US only on Monday,” said Satish Tamta, Rebecca’s colleague.
Rebecca could not be contacted.