No breakthrough, suspects still at large in Thane double-murder case

  • Arvind Walmiki, Hindustan Times, Thane
  • Updated: Jun 02, 2016 01:10 IST

A day after an 84-year-old man and his caretaker, 40, were found murdered in the former’s 2BHK house at a posh Thane locality, the police have zeroed in on two unidentified suspects on the basis of CCTV footage but no-one has been arrested yet.

The deceased were Sitaram Shroff, a retired banker, and caretaker Santosh Lavangare, a resident of Diva. Besides Lavangare, Shroff lived with his granddaughter — who works for an ad firm in Santacruz — in the 20-storey Regency Heights.

Shroff was strangled with a pillow while Lavangare was stabbed a dozen times.

Investigations have revealed that the suspects entered the building on Tuesday evening on the pretext of attending a religious function on the 17th floor of the building. Incidentally, no entry was made in the visitor’s book.

After committing the crime, the two men showed no signs of anxiety and washed their face, hands and legs, the police said. They also chatted with the building staff before leaving the apartment, said Ilkah Mohammed, a security guard from Kashmir.

The guard added the men told him that they were going for ‘pooja’. He dropped them to the 18th floor, where dinner for the function was served, the guard said, adding that the men were well-mannered.

Shroff’s daughter-in-law, Seema, 55, tried calling his phone numerous times at 6.30pm. After getting no response, she left her home in Sion for Regency Heights. Upon reaching the flat, she found Lavangare in a pool of blood and her father lying unconscious on the bed. She raised an alarm and informed the police, said Kalyanrao Kharpe, the investigation officer from Kasarwadavli police station. She also telephoned her daughter Rutika, 28, Kharpe said.

Shroff’s son also reached the building after he was informed by the other relatives. After a post mortem, Shroff’s body was handed over to his family.

The house was not ransacked, the police said.

Since the double murder, other residents of the building have been in a state of shock and fearing for their safety despite security measures.

“It was very shocking that a murder took place in our building with so much security. I have been living here for the past four years. I have never heard of any such incident. It has raised questions about the safety of other residents,” said Nita Sengupta, a resident of Regency Heights.

“I recently moved into this flat. I have not eaten since yesterday and only stepped out of the hosue at night,” said another resident, who did not wish to be named.

A case has been registered against the unidentified suspects under section 302 (murder) and 450 (house-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with life imprisonment ) of the Indian Penal Code.

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