Relatives and friends of Santacruz businessman Tilakraj Rajput said he would return home from work to his wife and two daughters, aged 3 and 11, at 8.30 pm every day. He was a doting husband and father, they believed, as his Facebook account was full of pictures of him with his wife and daughters. But when the police arrested Rajput’s lover Ronita for allegedly killing him on Monday, their reality was shattered.
Rajput lived with his wife and two daughters in a joint family at Juhu Tara Road in Santacruz (West). “He was a devoted family man. He was caring and also very focused on his business. We can’t believe he had an extra-marital affair. We had never heard of the woman until last night, when she was brought to the police station,” said one of Rajput’s friends outside Cooper Hospital at Vile Parle, where the post-mortem was conducted.
Rajput’s relatives grew worried when his phone became unavailable around 9 pm on Sunday and began searching for him. When their attempts to find him failed, his elder brother Mukesh approached the Santacruz police. The police said a patrol car found Rajput unconscious in his Mahindra XUV on SV Road at 12.40 am. His relatives were told about the murder and were shocked to learn about his alleged extra-marital affair. Rajput’s wife was only told about his death on Monday morning, said a relative.
According to relatives, Rajput was the youngest son of his parents and the sole breadwinner in his immediate family. He and Mukesh ran a laundry that catered to hotels, and he had been caring for his father, now 73, ever since his mother passed away in 2011.
“His family was dependent on him. We don’t know how to tell his daughters about this tragedy,” said Rajput’s brother-in-law, who did not wish to be named.
His brother-in-law said Rajput would wake up at 4am every day to exercise and that it was hard to believe Ronita could have killed him on her own. “He was strong and well-built. We doubt she did it on her own. We want the police to find out if any other people were are involved,” said his brother-in-law.
He added, “We saw nail marks and a deep gash on his throat. The police did not find his phone in the car. We suspect more people may have been involved in his murder.” When asked if he had any enemies, his relatives said they had never seen him fight with anyone.