Malad resident and senior citizen Sarla Patel, 67, was not murdered on Friday by robbers or her domestic help, but by her teenaged grandson and his childhood friend, the police said on Monday.
The duo - both 17-years-old - planned the murder and slit the throat of an unsuspecting Patel to get access to money to fund their extravagant lifestyle.
At the media briefing Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime), said jewellery and cash (including foreign currency) worth more than Rs5.14 lakh has been recovered. "There is no parallel to such a gruesome incident in recent memory," Roy said.
The murder was discovered on Friday evening when Patel's husband Ramanlal and son Pankaj returned from Ambani hospital where Ramanlal had undergone a CT scan. When Patel did not answer the doorbell, Pankaj broke it open and found his mother lying in a pool of blood.
The crime branch zeroed in on the grandson Jigar and his friend Ankit (names changed as they are minors) after eliminating several probabilities. The duo confessed during questioning.
While Jigar is a Class 11 student of TB Bhatia College in Kandivli, Ankit studies commerce at Ritumbara College in the vicinity. "They are childhood buddies," Roy said. Ankit also hails from a well-to-do business family.
The decision to kill Patel and rob the flat was made a while ago and they were waiting for the right opportunity, Roy said. The duo knew Friday was a good day to strike as Jigar lives in the flat adjacent to his grandmother's and knew his father and grandfather would be away.
The police said Jigar went to college as usual on Friday. His friend was waiting for him, and together they bought surgical gloves and a nylon rope. Jigar then called the watchman to reconfirm that his father and grandfather had left. He also called to check that his mother Bhavna was out.
The duo then went to the flat. Patel served them water and went into the bedroom where she was writing the Gayatri mantra. The youngsters slipped on the gloves and attacked her from behind. While one grabbed her hands, the other strangulated her with the rope, Roy said. After she lost consciousness, they collected the money and valuables from the flat.
According to Roy, before leaving, they checked Patel's pulse and discovered she was alive. "One of them brought a knife from the kitchen and slit her throat," he said.
Roy said the stash was kept at Ankit's place, and Ankit had sold 75 grams of gold for Rs. 1.41 lakh. "The duo has been booked under relevant sections of the Juvennile Justice Act and the Indian Penal Code and sent to a remand home," he said.