Artist Shireen Mody found murdered at Goa home, suspect gardener also dead
Acclaimed artist Shireen Mody and her gardner were found dead after a scuffle between the two on Sunday, in which the gardener attacked Mody with an iron rod leading to her death, police said. The artist was 65.
The gardener, identified as Praful Jana, attempted to flee the scene but suffered a head injury as he was scaling a wall. He was rushed to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries. Jana is a native of Assam.
Mody, who had set up a studio in Arpora, a village located next to the Calangute beach and around 12 kilometres from the state capital Panaji, died in Goa Medical College and Hospital, where she was taken by her neighbours.
Police Inspector Navlesh Dessai said the gardener attacked Mody with an iron rod. “There was a fight between the two which resulted in both of them succumbing to their injuries,” Dessai said.
Quoting neighbours, police said, Mody “was struck several times on her head with an iron rod by her gardener” at around 11:30 am on Sunday morning.
Police said there used to be frequent arguments between Mody and her gardener over the upkeep of her garden. The gardner used to stay in the outhouse within the same premises and neighbours told police that he was an alcoholic.
While Mody was found dead inside the house, the gardener’s body was picked from the lane outside.
“For now we have an eyewitness who saw a bleeding Jana as he tried to run. He told the witness ‘take care of her, I will be OK’ as he pointed towards the house. We are recording that as the last statement from Jana,” said inspector general of police, Jaspal Singh.
The police have recorded statements of family members as well as neighbours who witnessed the commotion.
A Parsi by birth, Mody was born and brought up in Bombay, but had made Goa her home nearly four decades ago after giving up her job in the advertising industry in London.
A commercial artist, her themes are intensely local with a focus on tropical sunlight and shadow and generally large-format acrylic-on-canvas depictions of Goa’s life and landscape. She is survived by a daughter, who used to say with her.
Police said at the time of the incident her daughter was not at home.