Ramanlal Patel, 72, whose wife Saroj Patel, 67, was found murdered at their Malad home on Friday evening, is the only person who can help the police with several facts crucial to the investigation. But he is in such a state of shock that he is unable to talk, the police said.
“After seeing his wife’s body with her throat slit, Ramanlal has not been able to talk to us. We tried talking to him once, but he just cried,” said a crime branch officer, requesting anonymity.
“We have not disturbed him after that. We will talk to him after he regains composure.”
The police have no clarity on several aspects of the murder, which is the sixth killing of an elderly person in the city in the past one month.
“We don’t know the exact amount of valuables robbed from the household as Ramanlal is the only person who knew these details,” the officer said.
The police believe the murderer is well-versed with the Patel family’s routines as the victim was attacked after 3pm, when Ramanlal had gone for a check-up as he suffers from kidney stone.
“We are investigating if it was a murder for robbery or it has been made out to look like a case of robbery,” inspector R Prabhu from Malad police station said.
Officials have already spoken to Pankaj Patel, the couple’s elder son who lives in the flat opposite theirs on the second floor of Vishal Complex building in Malad west. However, he does not know all the details required.
The incident came to light around 6pm on Friday when Ramanlal and Pankaj broke open the door after the victim did not respond to the doorbell. Her throat had been slit and the house was found ransacked with some empty jewellery boxes lying on the floor.
The Malad police and the local crime branch are currently questioning the housemaid who worked in the Patel household with her boyfriend. The maid would normally come to the flat around 11am and leave in two hours.
Officials are also questioning the building’s security guards and labourers who are involved in the building’s ongoing renovation work.
The couple’s younger son, who lives in Spain, has come to the city for final rites, and their Gujarat-based daughter is also expected soon, the police said.