Sixty-two-year-old Madhu Mehra, the senior citizen who was found dead at her Timarpur house on Tuesday, had had a tough life for over a decade and a half.
A hardworking though reclusive primary school teacher who kept mostly to herself, Mehra’s troubles, sources said, began as early as four decades ago when her first husband died in a car crash just three months after she had given birth to a baby boy.
Her second attempt at living a happy life also failed after marital discord drove her to seek divorce from her second husband Arun Mehra in 1982. Ten years later, when her son was only 15, he died in a road accident while walking home from school.
“After that, she told me briefly once, she just kind of gave up on the world,” said Ashok Kumar Verma, the victim’s visually-challenged colleague who used to accompany her to and from the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in adjacent Nehru Vihar.
“Since I live nearby, we had engaged a rickshaw puller whom we used to pay jointly at the end of each month. For the last two years, Mrs Mehra and I had travelled together to and from work every working day but our conversations were limited to work,” he said.
Police said the victim was probably chosen as an easy target given the single occupancy of her second-floor flat. Police said she was probably throttled fiercely before being strangled as she lay helpless with her bound limbs and gagged.
Police said the house was ransacked except one cupboard which her murderer “couldn’t open”.
The only other person that Mehra was in touch with, police said, was one Rajinder — a 59-year-old science lab assistant at Roop Nagar’s Happy Model School number 1 and her acquaintance of several years, who used to visit her every now and then.
“Rajinder was the one who discovered Mehra’s body. He had gone to her house around 2pm on Tuesday. Despite the ransacked house, he suggested that the victim may have committed suicide. We are examining his possible role in the case very minutely,” said an officer.
Towards the end of a two-year work extension, Mehra had received a somewhat ‘substantial’ amount as pension recently out of which, sources said, Rajinder had been loaned around Rs 10,000. He had returned the money on Monday.