The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Maid hand in woman death
- Hunt on for disabled suspect

Guwahati, April 30: Rekha Dutta, a widow living on her own in an upscale Dispur apartment, was found murdered early this morning. The prime suspect — her deaf and dumb domestic help, all of 20, and her constant companion of two years — is missing.

Police said the body of the 58-year-old victim bore injury marks on the head and below the right ear, believed to have been inflicted by sharp weapons. The police suspect the involvement of the elderly woman’s domestic help Lakshmi Majumdar in the murder as she is absconding.

“After preliminary investigations, Lakshmi, who is deaf and dumb, has emerged as the prime suspect. We are trying to track her down,” a police source said.

It would have been an open and shut case had it not been for one glitch — no cash or valuables, except for a bunch of wardrobe keys, is missing from the apartment.

The police, almost certain about Lakshmi’s role in the killing, have ruled out the murder-for-gain theory and are focussing instead on a revenge angle. “We suspect that the girl may have killed her employer in a fit of rage after being rebuked,” a policeman said.

Widow of Biman Bihari Dutta, Rekha lived with the maid alone in a flat in Aradhana Apartment near GNRC Hospital at Rukmini Nagar. She is survived by three daughters, all married.

The police said the body was found around 7.30 this morning when the milkman, after repeated knocks on the door, did not get a response. “He then informed the watchman of the building, following which they pushed open the door which was slightly ajar and found the body lying under a bed. There were signs of a scuffle as a glass table lay broken,” the policeman said.

“Stunned, the two immediately brought the matter to the notice of the secretary of the apartment, who subsequently informed Rekha’s son-in-law Amal Das,” he said.

The police have picked up the maid’s sister from her Kahilipara residence for questioning.

A team of city police has also searched Lakshmi’s home in Chaygaon in Kamrup district but could not find her there. A murder case was registered at Dispur police station and the body has been sent to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) for autopsy.

Preliminary investigation suggests that the murder may have been committed between 1.30 am and 5 am today. The watchman of the apartment, Jitu Das, told the police that he had heard Rekha shouting at her domestic help in the wee hours today.

“Das also told us that he saw Lakshmi going out around 5 am. He, however, thought that she may have gone for a morning walk,” the police officer said.

There had been several cases in the city where servants have either drugged or killed elderly employers for money.

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