Purity Coutinho, alias Ronita, the 26-year-old hotel receptionist arrested for the murder of her lover, 43-year-old Santacruz businessman Tilakraj Rajput, threw away his phone after killing him on Sunday night, the police said on Tuesday. She did so as she feared the phone could contain incriminating information about their affair, according to the police. Both Rajput and Coutino were married.
The police on Tuesday formed teams to search for Rajput’s missing phone. A source told HT, “During interrogation, she confessed that she took Rajput’s phone from his car and dumped it. We have recovered her phone but are still looking for his.”
The police are also scouring Rajput’s and Coutino’s call records to establish the sequence of events leading up to the murder. According to the police, the two spoke on the phone several times on Sunday evening and many of the conversations turned into arguments. The police handed over Coutino’s phone to the forensic science laboratory at Kalina, which will check its contents, including text messages she exchanged with Rajput.
A police team will search Coutinho’s house in Vile Parle, where she lives with her parents, a source said. Coutinho married about a year ago. Her husband, a housekeeping staffer at a multi-cuisine restaurant chain, lives in Sahar. When the police asked her why she and her husband live separately, she said it’s because he does not have proper accommodation.
Coutinho works as a receptionist at a popular hotel in Khar. She quit her previous job, at another hotel, about a year-and-a-half ago. Rajput, who ran a laundry service for hotels, met her through work.
On Tuesday, a forensic team visited Santacruz police station, where Rajput’s Mahindra XUV has been parked, and collected fingerprints, DNA samples and other evidence from it.
Coutinho was arrested from Vile Parle on Monday morning and will be in police custody until September 3.