“I was shocked and could not believe Niranjan could do this. I know him since so many years and he has always came across as a good person,” said Hardik Shah (30), neighbour and close friend of Ramesh Sanghvi, whose wife and mother were found murdered in their Malad (W) on May 28.
Niranjan Rajbath (33), the prime accused, is still at large.
Bhavna (54) and her mother-in-law Reva (79) were murdered and the killers had stolen jewellery worth Rs 1.2 lakh.
On Wednesday, the Crime Branch arrested two of the alleged killers, Omprakash Rajbath and Dilipkumar Rajbath, from Gopalgunj in Bihar. Shah owns a cellphone-cum-stationery shop in Dahisar.
He told Hindustan Times on Thursday that Ramesh, who is physically-impaired and works in an insurance company in Borivli, had bought an auto-rickshaw some years ago and had hired Niranjan to drive it.
Shah said: “I used to travel with Ramesh in the rickshaw driven by Niranjan. He would first drop Ramesh at Borivli and me at Dahisar. He
would then ferry other passengers. Niranjan quit the job in April.”
“He was a cheerful and decent person. I don’t know what drove him into killing his employer’s family members,” Shah said.
Hardik added Niranjan, who stayed in a Malad slum with his wife and two children, had become a part of Ramesh’s family over the years and would visit them regularly.
Another neighbour said: “Perhaps no one ever suspected his intentions even though he was seen near Ramesh’s flat on that day.”