The Kapoor family had recently hired three house help. But neither did they carry out a back background check, nor did they get them registered with the police. Their failure to follow these basic precautionary measures took a dangerous turn on Sunday.
The three men attacked 25-year-old housewife Vandana Kapoor while she and her two-year-old daughter were alone at their house in Suchi Heights, Malad (East). The accused fled with cash and valuables worth Rs 54.15 lakh, and the family's four-month-old dog, Myra, a Shih Tzu
Kapoor lives in a family with 10 members, including her husband, in-laws and her brother-in-law and his family.
According to the police, around 4pm, Kapoor went to the kitchen to get a glass of water when one of the accused approached her from behind and started to choke her. Unable to breathe, she fell unconscious.
A family member returned around 4.30pm and found the child crying and Kapoor lying unconscious on the kitchen floor. He took her to Vandana Lifeline hospital, where she is said to be in a stable condition.
Subhash Dafle, senior inspector, Kurar police station, said the three accused were employed on the reference of a previous employee, Lallan, who is also missing from his residence in Surat, Gujarat. He had worked at the Kapoor residence for a month before he left.
Lallan had recommended one of the accused, Pravin, 25, who started work 25 days ago. On Pravin's recommendation, they had hired Santosh, 19, 10 days ago. On Saturday, they employed the third accused, Raju, 22.
"The family had no details about the three and only knew their first names," said Dafle, adding that since the trio was not registered with the police, the police were relying on CCTV footage to get their pictures.
Radhika, the victim's sister-in-law, said the family had been busy with their 80-year-old mother-in-law's illness and a family function and hence they could not make time to register the accused.
"But we had not anticipated they would do such a thing. We had told Pravin that we didn't need to employ Raju, but he asked us to let him stay for a night. One of our former employees had told us that Raju had a drinking problem," she said.
The police said the accused took the family's dog as they wanted to leave the premises without being suspected. "When the watchman questioned them, the accused said they were taking the dog for a walk," said an officer, adding that they hid all the stolen valuables in their trousers,
"We are just happy that Vandana is safe. The three men had attempted to commit the robbery while she was asleep. They attacked her when she woke up. It is only obvious that they had been monitoring our schedules," said Radhika.