A 72-year-old woman is fighting for her life after she was brutally assaulted by two alleged robbers inside her apartment in Santacruz area of Mumbai, police officials and doctors said on Sunday.
Chandra Raheja is on ventilator support at Asha Parekh Hospital, said doctors treating her. The senior citizen, who lived by herself, has developed blood clots in her brain, indicating she may have been hit on the head by the assailants, the doctors said.
“She is in a critical condition and is on ventilator support. She sustained a hematoma (blood clotting) in the brain,” said a doctor from the hospital’s ICU.
Raheja’s assailants ransacked the home and fled after assaulting her on Thursday evening. The incident came to light only on Friday morning, when Raheja’s maid found her lying on the floor.
Sources in the crime branch said the assailants had entered the apartment on the pretext of delivering food from a nearby restaurant. Neighbours told police they saw two men leaving the flat after 8 pm on Thursday.
Raheja, a relative of a well-known Mumbai-based builder, lived alone in her flat in Shalimar Apartments on Tagore Road, near the Santacruz police station. She often ordered food from outside.
The assault highlighted how unsafe Mumbai is for senior citizens.
According to Raheja’s neighbours, the retired bank manager was left alone after the death of her sister, with whom she had shared the apartment.
On Saturday, police rounded up the employees of the nearby restaurant for questioning.
According to police, Raheja was found by her maid Anita Dhumal, who has been working with her for more than a year. On Friday, Dhumal rang the doorbell at 8.30am. When Raheja failed to answer, Dhumal went to the home of Raheja’s brother Shyam Sundar, who lives nearby, and got a spare key to the apartment.
When she entered the flat, she found Raheja and informed her nephew. The senior citizen was rushed to hospital and police were informed.
“My sister stays alone and her maid only visits the house to finish chores twice a day. The society should be held responsible for the lapse in security,” said Shyam Sundar.
Police are yet to record Raheja’s statement. “We are yet to estimate the amount of valuables stolen from her house, which was completely ransacked,” said Shantanu Pawar, senior inspector at Santacruz police station.