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Skull near home of Jatin-Lalit’s missing kin

Mumbai, Jan. 29: A chance find by a British bird-watcher has led Mumbai police to the skeletal remains of a woman suspected to be the missing sister of Bollywood composer duo Jatin and Lalit.

Police said Sandhya Singh, 50, had been missing since December 13 when she stepped out to deposit jewellery worth Rs 20 lakh at a local bank.

“Nothing can be confirmed as of now. Forensic and DNA tests are on but Sandhya Singh’s 22-year-old son has seen the remains and thinks they are his mother’s from some clothes, a hair clip and a religious band…” said inspector R. Chaphekar, who is investigating the case.

Sandhya’s husband Jaiprakash, a customs and excise commissioner, is rushing back from Indore where he is based. Her elder sister is yesteryear singing star Sulakshana Pandit. Her younger sister Vijeta, who is married to Bollywood composer Aadesh Shrivastav, played the lead against Kumar Gaurav in the ’80s movie Love Story.

Police sources said M.J. Oates, a 61-year-old bird enthusiast, stumbled upon the skeletal remains in a marshy tract on January 26, just a kilometre from Sandhya’s apartment in Navi Mumbai. “He took some pictures and contacted the police. We found the remains along with some possessions like clothes near the bones,” Chaphekar said.

A police source said Sandhya decided to deposit her jewellery in a locker as she suspected a robbery attempt in her apartment the day before. A friend dropped her at the bank. “The CCTVs were not working but witnesses said they saw Sandhya enter the bank. None of the jewellery was deposited at the bank.”

Sandhya, a patient of depression, was under medication, her family said.

The police said witnesses told them Sandhya got into an auto-rickshaw outside the bank. She was last seen half a kilometre away, buying mineral water. PTI today quoted Jaiprakash as saying Lalit “also feels” the remains were of Sandhya. “We are…praying to God our fears do not come true.”