The deaths of two women — a mother-daughter duo — in a fire at their Mansarovar Garden house has turned out to be one of murder and a friend of the family has been arrested for the crime.
Police on Tuesday said a failed robbery attempt by one Darshan Singh from Hastinapur in UP ended with the accused murdering the two women and then setting the house on fire to make it look like an accident.
Singh had smothered Swaran Kaur, a 78-year-old widow, and her mentally-challenged daughter Balbir Kaur, 48, to death at their house on the afternoon of November 6, said V. Renganathan, additional commissioner of police (west).
"He serves as a 'sewadar' at a gurdwara in Subhash Nagar. He had visited the house to seek a loan. He was known to the family through one of Kaur's sons, Devender, who also volunteers at the local gurdwara," he said.
On November 6, the women were alone at home when one of their neighbours called the fire department around 3:42pm about the fire. Two fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the charred remains of the mother and daughter were recovered after 30 minutes.
“The bodies were sent for post-mortem examination where the doctor said the cause of their death was asphyxia caused by smothering,” Renganathan said.
“The footage from CCTVs near their J block residence yielded visuals of Darshan Singh and he was detained for questioning. He confessed to his involvement,” the additional CP said.
Police said the accused had visited Kaur's house to ask for a Rs. 2,000 loan. While Kaur was taking out the money, Singh saw that the iron box contained more money. “When he saw the money, he asked for all of it to be loaned to him but she refused. He then tried to snatch the money and then smothered her when he failed to get the money,” he added. He also killed her daughter after that.
He then poured mustard oil on both the bodies and set them on fire before escaping with two gold bangles and Rs. 23,000 in cash from the house.