A senior Airport Authority of India (AAI) official who was charged with the murder of his wife was convicted and awarded life imprisonment by the sessions court on Saturday. The police, however, have not been able to ascertain the motive behind the murder.
“Eknath Pai, an assistant deputy manager (security) with the AAI was convicted for killing his wife Ajitha, a senior manager with the Mumbai Air Traffic Control at their Powai residence on March 15, 2010. The court awarded him life sentence based on circumstantial evidence,” said assistant police inspector SN Bhandge and investigating officer from the Powai police station. Senior inspector, Ashok Jadhav, confirmed the sentence awarded to Pai.
Pai, a resident of Shivalik society in Andheri (East), had approached the Powai police claiming he found his wife Ajitha dead when he returned home from work on March 15 last year. He told the police that when his wife did not open the door or answer her phone, he broke the door open and found her lying motionless on the bed.
The police initially registered a case of accidental death. This was changed to murder after post-mortem reports stated that Ajitha died due to strangulation.
“During the course of investigation, we found several discrepancies in the statement given by Pai. According to his version, Pai reached his residence around 5.30pm on March 15, whereas two neighbours saw him in the building premises around 3.30pm. The watchman of the building corroborated the neighbours’ statement adding that Pai arrived at his building around 1.30pm,” Bhandge said.
Bhangde added, “Pai told us that he came to his house straight from work. However, he had left from his workplace around 1.30pm and consumed alcohol at a bar before reaching home.”
The police arrested Pai on March 18, 2010, after he landed at the international airport. He had returned after Ajitha’s last rites in Thiruvananthapuram.