With shabby, uncombed hair and cloth covering a wound on her hand, Ishwari Jethwani, 73, did not look like someone worth lakhs of rupees, when she was being escorted in a police van to a local hospital for a check-up on Friday afternoon.
“My three siblings and I used to love each other a lot. Now they are no more, and I miss them. I cannot trust anyone,” she said.
Jethwani has been living alone in her flat in New Piramal Nagar Cooperative Housing Society, Goregaon (west), for more than a decade.
On Thursday, after her neighbours complained that a foul smell was emanating from the flat, police rushed there, only to find her lying in bed, with insects crawling over her body.
She was taken to the hospital, and discharged in a few hours.
“We found Rs. 7.2 lakh in cash, national saving certificates worth Rs. 2.87 lakh, and bank statements showing Rs. 72 lakh in her account and gold jewellery in her house. She also has share certificates worth lakhs of rupees. More money was found on Friday,” said Arun Jadhav, senior inspector, Goregaon police station.
However, Jethwani’s lifestyle is a far cry from her financial status. She has been living a secluded life, with minimal interaction with neighbours.
Police said she had also been seen begging for food outside a nearby temple.
“Her family and she came to from Pakistan after the partition. She had two brothers and a sister. She worked in the Goregaon dairy,” said a constable.
The police also found her house in a terrible condition, filthy and barely furnished.
They are now trying to convince her to move to a shelter for the aged in Malwani.
Jethwani, however, wants her life of seclusion. “I do not want to go to a shelter. I haven’t spoken to anyone in so many years and no one has bothered. Why should I now?” she asked.