For residents of Sahil chawl in Nalasopara (East), Sunday night was like any other. After finishing their daily chores, they filled water from the common facility to store for the next day. Around 1.30am, when the taps ran dry, the families, along with Madan Mandora and his brother Dinesh, retired to their homes. It was the last time they were seen alive.
Dr Chandresh Kumar, 31, who lives next door to the deceased, was woken up by his wife around 7am. She told him she could not open the door to their room, and when she peeked out of the window, she noticed it had been latched from outside.
“I thought someone must have played mischief. I asked a resident to open the door, and when I stepped out, I saw the window grill of my neighbours’ room was broken and the sliding window was slightly ajar,” he said.
Suspecting that there had been a theft, but afraid to enter the duo’s room, Dr Kumar and another resident, Sanjay Sharma, 32, a marketing professional, went to their sister’s residence in the neighbourhood and informed her of the broken grill.
“Their brother-in-law Babulal Soni came back with us to the chawl. The door was not locked. When we pushed it open, we found the brothers lying on the floor with ropes around their necks and their bodies covered with a bedsheet. The wardrobe was open, the mattresses were thrown all over the place. It showed signs of struggle,” said Dr Kumar.
Meanwhile, Soni said, “The two were simple men and kept to themselves. They did not have any personal enmity with anyone. I suspect the accused had come to rob them, although the police are verifying this.”
Madan and Dinesh, from Rajasthan, had been living in a rented room in the chawl for four to five years. While Dinesh was unmarried, Madan had a wife and two children who live in Rajasthan. The duo’s parents frequented their residence, and his mother had left for their hometown just two days before they were murdered, relatives said.