A 48-year-old woman has been arrested for killing her 86-year-old mother-in-law after attacking her with an utensil in south Delhi's Neb Sarai area.
The motive behind the attack appears to be long-standing frustrations related to caregiving responsibilities, including cooking and daily household chores, the police said on Tuesday.
However, the police said that no immediate triggering event has been identified thus far.
The daughter-in-law, identified as Sharmishta Som (48), a resident of Neb Sarai, has been arrested by the police.
According to the police, a man reported on April 28 that his friend's mother had collapsed in her apartment and was bleeding profusely, following which a police team rushed to the spot.
"When the police reached the spot, they found Hanshi Som lying on the kitchen floor with multiple injuries on her face and skull. The woman's son Surajit Som (51), along with his wife Sharmishta and their 16-year-old daughter, were residing in Neb Sarai since 2014. Originally from Kolkata, Surajit's mother had been living alone until March 2022. To ensure her well-being, Surajit brought his mother to Delhi and arranged for her to stay in a rented flat opposite his own," said a senior police officer.
Surajit told the police that his mother had been suffering from arthritis for a long time, which affected her mobility. In October 2022, she had a fall in the washroom due to the elevated height of the bathroom, making it difficult for her to use it. As a result, Surajit decided to rent a flat that provided easier accessibility to a suitable washroom and kitchen.
The police noted that Surajit presented photographs of the previous bathroom incident when his mother had collapsed.
During investigation, the police discovered a single CCTV camera positioned on a table next to the bed.
"However, no storage device was found with the camera, leading the police to seize it. Surajit informed the police that he had live access to the camera on his phone, allowing him to monitor his mother's daily routine. On the day of the incident, the camera was not functioning due to a power cut, Surajit has claimed," said Chandan Chowdhary, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South).
Both the family members and neighbours expressed no suspicion of any foul play in this case.
After the body was shifted to the AIIMS mortuary, an autopsy was carried out on April 29. The doctor conducting the post-mortem stated that the injuries sustained by the deceased were unlikely to occur under normal circumstances. Consequently, a thorough investigation into the incident was deemed necessary.
On further investigation, Surajit's daughter revealed that her mother and her grandmother did not share an amicable relationship. She confirmed that her mother held a dislike towards her grandmother, a sentiment which was also affirmed by Surajit.
On the day of the incident, only Sharmishta was present in their flat, while the deceased's flat was locked from the outside, with the keys found inside Sharmishta's flat.
"Surajit later admitted that before notifying the police, he removed the memory card from the CCTV camera positioned in the deceased's bedroom," said the DCP.
"Upon reviewing the CCTV footage, it was observed that at 10:30 a.m. on April 28, Sharmishta entered the deceased's flat while holding an utensil in her hand. Several blows were inflicted upon the elderly woman. After committing the crime, Sharmishta could be seen cleaning the weapon with a cloth," said the DCP.
On further investigation, Surajit's daughter revealed that her mother and her grandmother did not share an amicable relationship. She confirmed that her mother held a dislike towards her grandmother
Surajit held onto the memory card from the CCTV camera and watched its content following the last rites of his mother.
"He witnessed his wife entering and exiting his mother's flat. Concerned with these findings, he shared his suspicion with the local police. On Monday, the post-mortem report confirmed that the cause of death was due to injuries sustained prior to death," said the DCP.
"Based on the information gathered from the inquiry, Surajit's account, the CCTV footage, and the post-mortem report, a case has been registered under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code," said the DCP. (PB/NewsGram)