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Lawyers were last seen by locals on Friday

mumbai Updated: Oct 11, 2011 02:12 IST
HT Correspondent

The two lawyers, aunt Femida Jalal Shaikh, 60, and nephew Arsh Ahmed Shaikh, 27, were last seen by residents of the building on Friday.

The police suspect that the duo could have been killed on Saturday night or Sunday morning as the bodies were highly decomposed.

Femida, who did not have any children, had raised Arsh since childhood and treated him like her son. Femida's husband Jalal, who was also a practicing advocate, had died around five years ago. Jalal's brother Ahmed had fled to Pakistan a few decades ago, following which Femida started taking care of Arsh.

A resident said that on Friday she had met Femida in the afternoon when she said that she had overslept. Femida and Arsh were seen during the afternoon prayers, said the residents of the building.

On Monday morning, when a foul stench started emanating from the building, the residents thought that it might be a dead rat. However, by afternoon, the smell became pungent and a few residents realised it was coming from Femida's residence. They informed the police and the door of Femida's house had to be broken.

The locals told the police that a servant used to come to work in Femida's house. On occasions, when nobody was at home, she would take the keys from the ground floor residents, where Femida left a spare set of keys.

So far, the police said, none of the relatives have come forth to claim the bodies. Femida has two brothers - one resides in Meerut, while the other has been booked under Mcoca and is lodged in Arthur Road jail since 2006 for an extortion case.

'She would help poor get justice'
According to a resident of the locality who knew both the deceased lawyers, advocate Femida Shaikh was a philanthropist and had helped several poor and needy persons fight their court cases, especially in property related matters. Femida, according to noted criminal lawyer Farhana Shah, was practicing mainly on the civil side of the city civil court and the Bombay high court.

One of her neighbours said Femida was a reserved person and would not strike a conversation easily with outsiders. He added that her social life was limited to her clientele -- mostly poor and needy who could not afford costly civil litigations.

She and her deceased nephew, whom she had raised, were to leave for Haj pilgrimage on October 29.