The body of a 55-year-old woman, Latika Kamble, was found at her Vikhroli residence on Wednesday evening. She had been hit on the head with a blunt weapon, and is the fifth woman to be killed in Mumbai in the last 30 days.
Kamble was alone at home – located just 100 metres from Vikhroli police station – when a person who the police is yet to identify killed her, mopped the bloodstained floor, and then fled with her gold ornaments and mobile phone cumulatively valued at Rs66,000.
“The fact that the assailant managed to enter her house easily does raise the possibility that she knew the person well,” said DCP (zone 7) Sanjay Shintre.
Kamble was a homemaker and lived in a flat on the fourth floor of Kalpana Vikhar building at Kannamwar Nagar, along with her son, daughter and nephew.
Her husband had passed away 10 years ago. On Wednesday, her son Manoj, 28, daughter Manisha, 32, and nephew Sandeep Mane, 24, left for work as usual by 10am. “Between 1.45pm and 4.30pm she allowed someone inside the house who hit her on the head with a blunt object,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (zone 7) Sanjay Shintre.
After mopping the bloodstained floor, the killer placed Kamble’s body on the bed, covering it with a mattress to give the impression that she was sleeping. “The murder came to light at 5.30pm when Mane who works at the Naval docks returned home,” he added.
“60 grams of gold ornaments along with Rs30,000 that were present in a safe in a cupboard in the house was untouched,” said Shintre. The police are therefore probing whether it was made to appear like a murder-for-robbery case and mislead the police, when the motive could actually have been something else.