A 32-year-old housewife breathed her last in front of her two young daughters after a friend of hers stabbed her in the neck to rob valuables from her home yesterday afternoon.
The victim has been identified as Shagufta Khan (32), a resident of Rustomjee apartments at Marve Road, Malad west. Her husband, Sonu Jhalam, is a businessman who stays in Australia for work most of the time, and the couple has two daughters — Chiku (5) and Riya (11).
The accused, Arvind Gupta alias Guddu, is a resident of Laxmi Nagar, Goregaon (West). He was a friend of Shagufta’s and has been absconding since the murder. Police said CCTV footage from the residential complex shows him entering and leaving Shagufta’s house.
“Around 3 pm on Tuesday, Gupta entered Shagufta’s house — Flat no 64 on the 6th floor. The security guards did not suspect anything amiss as he was a regular visitor to the house. On Tuesday, however, he had a knife on him, which he used to fatally stab Shagufta in the neck. He then started stuffing valuables into a bag,” said a police officer.
Meanwhile, Riya and Chiku reached home from school and found the door open. Gupta was inside the house. Riya saw a knife and bag in his hand and shouted for help.
Dolly Khan, a cousin of Shagufta’s said, “Gupta also tried to attack Riya with the knife, but she managed to save herself and her sister. Gupta then used the staircase to flee. We have never met the accused, but Shagufta had told us that Gupta was her friend and worked at a cellphone shop in Goregaon. Riya and Chiku saw Shagufta die in front of them. She died before she could be taken to a hospital.”
ACP Sunil Deshmukh from the Crime Branch said, “CCTV cameras installed on the building premises have captured images of the accused, and the daughters of the deceased have also identified him. Robbery was the motive for the murder and he stole many valuables from the house. The accused took the lift to go up to the house, but used the staircase to flee.”
While Gupta is absconding, the police have arrested one of his friends, Faiyyaz, an auto driver. They suspect that Faiyyaz had planned the murder and was waiting for Gupta outside the building to help him flee Family bereaved
Police said Sonu Jhalam and Shagufta had a love marriage 12 years ago. Sonu had met Shagufta when she was working in a restaurant and had fallen in love with her. He had set up his business in Australia recently.