Powai police arrested Eknath Pai, a 47-year-old assistant general manager attached with the Airports Authority of India (AAI), on late Thursday night, for killing his wife, Ajitha (45), an assistant manager with the Air Traffic Control (ATC), at their Andheri residence.
The accused had been working at Sahar airport since 1999 and had served at the Santacruz, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangalore airports in the past.
Ajitha was allegedly smothered to death by a pillow on Monday. Police said that the couple had a troubled relationship. “Eknath was alcoholic,” said Jadhav.
Initially, police suspected that the accused committed the offence along with two friends. Investigation of call records revealed that there was only one call received on Ajitha’s mobile on Monday. Investigators suspect that Eknath might have deleted the calls. Police found several messages from Ramakant Ghatol (who worked at Nagpur airport) on Ajitha’s phone. When Ghatol was question over the phone on Friday, he replied that he earlier worked with Ajitha at the Mumbai airport. “We were good friends and I last spoke to Ajitha around 10.45 am on Monday (the day of the incident). She used to complain about her husband’s drinking habits,” he told the police.
Ghatol sent an SMS on Ajitha's mobile after her death that read: “After 2moro, nothing else is to be done. V wil leave. Nothing much on police situation. We will talk tomoro after reaching,”
Police suspect that Ghatol was aware about the incident and is a common friend of the couple. “It appears that the SMS was meant for Eknath and not Ajitha,” said an officer.
After the incident, police were in touch with Ajitha’s family from Thiruvananthapuram. “His sister messaged me that they were about to board the flight around 5 pm and Eknath, and his daughter Shweta (19) were flying by IC 168,” Jadhav said. The accused has been remanded to police custody till March 26.