The police and fire department have found the circumstances in which 60-year-old Lata Duggal died when a fire broke out in her Presidency Towers apartment at Ghatkopar on May 16 suspicious.
The fire department’s investigation report says the cause of fire is ‘doubtful’. The report was submitted on Thursday, 17 days after the incident.
The report also suspects foul play in Duggal's death. “The report has been submitted, the cause of the fire is said to be doubtful," said Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Atmaram Shinde.
The police said they were yet to receive the report from the fire department but they have not ruled out sabotage.
"We are investigating all the possible angles," said senior police inspector Somnath Ghuge of Parksite police station in Vikhroli. “No one from the family suspects anything fishy.”
Police sources said the Duggals owned a lot of property in the eastern suburbs and are partners in a chain of electronic shops. The police are probing if there was any business rivalry or dispute. The police have taken the statements of at least 25 people, including Duggal's family members, residents of the building, the domestic help and watchmen of the building.
The fire department’s report says the fire spread very quickly. According to the report, Duggal was alone when the fire broke out but she did not scream for help. "She even had a mobile phone with her but no distress calls were made." The report has ruled out short circuit or a gas leak as the cause of the fire.
The family that was holidaying in Australia when the incident occurred said Duggal was fit and often travelled to Pune alone. “It is surprising why she didn’t try to escape,” the official said.
The domestic help who came to the Duggal household at 2 pm told investigators that when she left, Duggal was sleeping in one bedroom but her body was found in another. “The bedroom in which her body was found is close to the main door. Why didn’t she try to run?” an official asked.
The second domestic help who came at 3.30 pm said she rang the doorbell but Duggal did not answer.