The 65-year-old son of noted Punjabi writer, the late Amrita Pritam, was found murdered at his Borivli (West) apartment-cum-photo studio on Friday afternoon.
A neighbour of Navraj Kwatra, who was a writer, photographer and film producer, claimed to have responded to his shouts for help by ringing the doorbell of his house while the suspected killers were still inside, but he could neither prevent the crime, nor identify the killers.
The police have registered a case of robbery along with murder as the cupboards in the flat were found ransacked.
Deputy commissioner of police (zone 11) Mahesh Patil said the murder is suspected to have taken place between 12.15pm and 12.25pm on the ground-floor flat-cum-studio in Wilderness apartments located near LIC Colony.
“At around 12.25pm, a senior citizen was coming down the stairs when he heard Kwatra's screams. He rushed to the flat and rang the doorbell several times. When no one answered, he went behind the building to peek in from the rear window, said Patil. The two suspects ran out of the main door as soon as they saw him going behind the building. “A woman from the building saw the duo as they were escaping, and raised an alarm suspecting them to be thieves,” added Patil.
“One of the points where policemen are stationed to curb chain snatching incidents was hardly a few metres from the building. If the neighbours had alerted them, the accused could have been caught,” added Patil.
The neighbours went into Kwatra’s flat and found him lying on the floor. Varsha Jani, 53, employed as cook on the first floor of the building, said, “Kwatra’s body was lying on the floor and his hands and legs had been tied. We took him to Bhagwati hospital.” Kwatra was declared dead at the hospital.
While the police found the door of a cupboard in the house open and the contents ransacked, they have not been able ascertain what has been stolen. Senior inspector of MHB colony police station Suresh Kilje said, “We are waiting for the family members to return to find out if anything is missing.” An expensive camera that was in the cupboard was not taken, an officer added.
Additional commissioner of police (north region) Sunil Paraskar said, “It appears the accused were known to Kwatra as there are no signs of forced entry.” The police are questioning Kwatra’s assistant for leads.