Going by the Mumbai police’s experience, a killer or thief typically gives them the slip by escaping to his village. But after stabbing a senior citizen in Vakola, her 23-year-old assailant committed suicide, to save himself from the police and the guilt of the crime.
On September 17, 60-year-old Malti Mahadik was found murdered at her house at Vakola and jewellery worth Rs 64,000 was missing from her body. On September 26, Nilesh Khake, who lived in the house opposite Mahadik, went missing.
“That’s when we began suspecting Khake. We checked his village, his friend’s houses and other places… but couldn’t trace him. On October 2, we found his body in possession of the Bandra railway police, who said Khake had jumped off a train and committed suicide on September 27,” said Police Inspector Sanjay Patil from the Vakola police station.
Patil said a few days after Khake’s disappearance, a friend of his from the neighbourhood approached the police saying Khake was the one who had robbed Mahadik. The friend said Khake had phoned him and told him he had thrown the ornaments wrapped in a handkerchief on a neighbour’s roof. When the friend asked Khake if he had killed Mahadik, Khake had simply said: “How else would I know where the ornaments are?”
Khake also told his friend that he had taken a loan and desperately needed money to repay it, adding that it was his last call to him. On the day of the murder, the two friends were the first to tell Mahadik’s daughter about her mother’s death.
“I was watching the television when the two came to my house, and said my mother had suffered an electric shock. I rushed over and saw my mother lying in a pool of blood,” said Mahadik’s daughter Shubhangi Gaud (27), who lives in the same apartment.
“At that moment, it didn’t even occur to me that she may have been dead – I assumed she may have fallen and bled. It was only later that I realised she had died”.
Gaud said the Mahadiks had an easy relationship with the Khakes.
“Nilesh was known as a rowdy with a drinking habit, but we’d never suspected him of murder,” she said.