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Woman smothered, house ransacked

An 82-year-old woman was smothered to death and her house ransacked at Jungpura Extension in south Delhi on Sunday night. Police said the main suspect was the house’s domestic help. Previous cases

delhi Updated: Nov 01, 2011 01:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

An 82-year-old woman was smothered to death and her house ransacked at Jungpura Extension in south Delhi on Sunday night.

Police said the main suspect was the house’s domestic help, Jagat, who is now absconding. He was hired a month ago and had been living in the house without any verification.

The victim, identified as Vimal Shah, was living with her son and daughter-in-law. The couple had gone to Singapore two weeks back to meet their sons, the police said.

Shah’s body was found in the bathroom with her hands and face tied. The deceased was an asthma patient.

“We found a pillow in the bathroom that suggests that she was smothered to death. There were no external injuries,” said Ajay Chaudhry, additional CP (southeast).

Police suspects that two to three persons might be involved in the murder and robbery.

“It is possible that the domestic help asked his friends for help in committing the crime. After the murder, they ransacked the house. Since the help had the keys, he didn’t have a problem with opening the almirahs,” said a senior police officer, who did not want to be identified.

Shah’s only son Bharat, who is an IIT Roorkee alumnus, had gone to Singapore on October 17. Shah has a business in Delhi.

“Bharat and his wife had gone to meet their sons who are working in Singapore. We have informed him and they will arrive on Monday night,” Mohit Shah, a cousin of Bharat said. “Bharat called his mother everyday, but when he called on Monday, no one answered. He then called his neighbour, who opened the door and found Vimal lying in the bathroom,” Mohit added. A PCR call was made at 11.40 am.

“We haven’t calculated how much money was taken. Bharat will be able to tell us what is missing from the house,” a police officer said.

The domestic help, who is said to be a native of Nepal, was hired a month ago through a contact, but the Shah family didn’t get him verified by the police. “We have traced the contact who helped Jagat with the job and are interrogating him. Various teams have been formed to trace the servant and a sketch has also been prepared,” the officer further said.

A case of robbery and murder has been registered at the Nizamuddin police station and further investigations are on.

The Shah family lives on the second floor of K-7 Jungpura extension.

Families hesitate to get servants verified

New delhi: The murder has once again highlighted the importance of servant verification. Police say most families hesitate to take their servants for a simple verification process and this makes it very difficult for them to track the record of the help.

“Despite initiating various drives, residents still hesitate to come forward for verification. They feel that the servant will refuse to work for them. They need to understand that the verification is for their safety,” said Ajay Chaudhry, additional CP (southeast).

The Delhi Police have registered 16,000 domestic helps this year so far while nearly 20,000 servants were registered last year. “In most of the crimes in Delhi either a driver or a servant or a worker — someone from within the house who is privy to private information — is involved,” a senior police officer said.

According to police records, nine cases of murder and 481 cases of theft involving servants have been reported since 2009.

Police said senior citizens living alone and people living in high-rise apartments were most vulnerable as they were dependent on the domestic help. “Often gangs take up work as domestic helps just to commit crimes. They wait for the right opportunity and strike then. They look for people who do not bother to check their background or verify their character and antecedents with the police,” the officer added.

Registration of senior citizens with the police is another aspect that the police are taking seriously. “In this case there was no need for registration as she was living with her son. But we appeal to residents to get their servants verified and register senior citizens if they live alone,” the officer further said.

First Published: Oct 31, 2011 23:15 IST