Laxmibai Dangle, the 61-year-old woman arrested on Wednesday for allegedly killing her neighbour and friend of the past 30 years, Latika Kamble, 57, planned to use the money she stole from the victim to repay debts and give the rest to her eldest son and live comfortably with him.
Praful Bhosle, senior Inspector of the Anti Robbery Squad (ARS), which arrested Dangle, said she had a detailed plan on what to do with the money.
Bhosle said Dangle had been leading a modest existence after the death of her husband years ago. Her eldest son Chandravardhan, who does odd jobs and earned poorly, lives in Badlapur, and her youngest son Sunil lives in Dombivli. Another son, Anil, has a criminal past and is missing.
Dangle was staying with her nephew Kapil and his wife, whom she had raised since childhood at the Mhada tenement in Vikhroli. Kapil is a civic gardener and his wife a dentist's assistant. "Their income was low so Dangle had to curb her expenses and aspirations," said an ARS officer, requesting anonymity.
Dangle would often borrow from neighbours and relatives. "She had borrowed Rs 1.5 lakh from various people. Recently, she went on a tour for which she borrowed Rs15,000," he said, adding that she had no means to repay the loans.
That's when it struck her that she could rob Kamble.
"The marriages of Kamble's son and daughter had been fixed. She knew the family had bought jewellery and arranged for cash," he said.
After killing her friend, Dangle hunted for the cupboard keys. "She found the key of the cupboard locker in a sugar container but didn't find the cupboard key. It was below the mattress on which the victim was lying," Bhosle said. "She could not get to the 25 tolas of gold and Rs 40,000 cash in the cupboard."
Dangle stole Kamble's gold chain, earrings and a cellphone.