Four persons, including a 21-year-old woman and her minor brother, were arrested on Wednesday for the murder of 65-year-old Navraj Kwatra, the son of Punjabi writer Amrita Pritam.
One of the accused, Savita Gupta, had been working for Kwatra for the past three months. The others include her boyfriend Vinay Bose, 24, Gaurank Khawle, 21, and a 17-year-old boy.
Kwatra was found murdered at his residence-cum-photo studio at Wilderness society, Borivli (West), on September 14.
According to the MHB Colony police, it took six teams, interrogation of over 100 people, and grilling of several eyewitnesses to crack the case.
“We prepared the sketches of the two accused. We also interrogated the people whose numbers were found in Kwatra’s cellphone and some whose pictures were found in his studio,” said Sunil Paraskar, regional additional commissioner of police.
The police claim that during questioning Gupta revealed the involvement of Bose and Khawle, who then admitted to the crime.
Gupta had borrowed money from Kwatra and had advised Bose and Khawle to approach the senior citizen when they were in need of cash. The duo allegedly conducted a recce of Kwatra’s studio on September 13, but could not execute their plans as the flat was locked.
The next day, they approached him posing as courier boys. Gupta’s brother was outside the building to inform them of anyone’s arrival. “It appears that the motive behind the murder was robbery, and it was not a pre-planned attack,” said Paraskar.
“Khawle said he needed the money to repair his damaged motorbike, while Bose said he too was in desperate need of cash. The accused said they panicked when Kwatra started to scream and smothered him to death. They fled with Rs55,000 and a camera, which have been recovered,” he added.
A source in the MHB Colony police said Kwatra had recently purchased two flats in Andheri and was soon to buy another one in Santacruz. “Also, he and his wife sold one of their three bungalows last year for Rs15 crore,” the source said. “It is possible he might have given Gupta an idea of his wealth.”
According to the police, none of the accused have previous criminal records. While Gupta’s sibling was sent to the Dongri Children’s Home, the other three were remanded in police custody till September 25 on Thursday.
The Gupta siblings’ parents told the police that they were not aware of their children’s activities and were saddened that the incident had ruined their lives.