| Neekar Yadav
Calcutta, Feb. 16: After killing Ravinder Kaur Luthra, domestic help Neekar Yadav apparently spent two hours in the flat cooking chicken kebabs and setting the table for a romantic dinner, complete with candlelight and two glasses of Bacardi, one lipstick-smeared.
The idea was to suggest the killer was a friend who had had a Valentine’s Day dinner with the 51-year-old Ravinder in her seventh-floor apartment while her husband was away, police said.
The interrogation of Neekar or Nikku, arrested yesterday for the murder in upscale Ballygunge Circular Road, has revealed how the 24-year-old had left a trail of red herrings for the sleuths, police detective chief Gyanwant Singh said.
“Around 3 am on Thursday, Nikku sneaked into the flat through the connecting staircase from his quarters and locked the two dogs in a room. He tied a leash round his waist and knocked on the bedroom door,” Singh said.
“Ravinder opened the door, still groggy from sleep, and asked ‘Kya hua (what’s up)'’ Nikku immediately began throttling her. As she slumped to the floor, he sat astride her and strangled her with the leash. She put up a fight, desperately scratching his face, temple, hands and shoulders.”
When Ravinder went limp, Nikku opened the dressing table drawer and cleaned out the cash he knew would be there — a sum of Rs 3,34,450 plus $300. He took the diamond jewellery, worth at least Rs 12 lakh and kept on a table, and stuffed it all into a bag.
Nikku returned to his quarters for a smoke to calm his nerves. Then the experienced help of seven years began setting up the “party”.
“He fried the kebabs in a pan, inserted the toothpicks and didn’t forget the napkins. He pulled out a pair of jeans, a T-shirt and some undergarments from her wardrobe and threw them down on a living room sofa,” Singh said.
But an overwrought Nikku applied the lipstick right across the rim of the half-filled glass of rum, arousing suspicion that it was a ruse. And in the bathroom, sleuths found the clothes Ravinder had actually got out of before slipping into her night-gown.
Around 5.30 am, Nikku cycled to a PCO at Hazra crossing and rang friend Babloo Mandal, a domestic hand in Alipore, to set up a meeting at Gopalnagar More.
“He handed the bag there to Babloo,” Singh said. The booty has been recovered from Babloo but the police think he knew nothing of the murder or the bag’s contents.
Nikku had planned to “discover” the murder after returning home, but the need to explain the scratches across his body forced him to improvise.
He staged a fall from his bicycle in Bhowanipore, letting a policeman take him to hospital. But the scratch marks seemed too serious for the small street mishap, and when the police got to know of the murder, they picked Nikku up from the hospital.