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Brother set up NRI doc's murder over property row

 

By Somit Sen/TNN

 

Mumbai: A murder that shocked Mumbai-that of NRI obstetrician Asha Goel (62) who was bludgeoned to death at Malabar Hill in August 2003-has finally been solved by the crime branch. Three persons, including a relative, were arrested in the case on Saturday evening.

 

The motive behind the killing, says investigating officer J K Hargude, was not a dispute over a guest house as believed. "Asha had got wind of a conspiracy by her brother, Suresh, to usurp their ancestral properties in Mumbai worth crores of rupees,'' he says. "What angered Asha was Suresh's plan to share 50% of the properties with a brother Subhash, who lives in Canada, but deny a share to another brother Shekhar, who lives in the United States.''

 

Asha had initially not shown any interest in the Mumbai properties, but on learning that Shekhar was being sidelined, had fought with Suresh and demanded her share. "She was de termined not to let Suresh and Subhash take over the properties if they were doing Shekhar out of his share,'' says Hargude. Asha had a verbal duel with Suresh for almost an entire day at the latter's residence in Sudhakar Co-operative Society in Malabar Hill. She finally packed her bags and left in anger. She went to Santa Cruz where she stayed with her sister for a week.

 

Says Hargude, "Asha had flown down to Mumbai on August 16 to visit Suresh, who was undergoing dialysis and his wife who had suffered a stroke. But her sympathy vanished when she came to know of her brother's desire to acquire the properties.'' A day before she was to leave for Canada , Suresh called up Asha and apologised on the phone. Presuming that he had mended his ways, Asha returned to Malabar Hill and agreed to spend the night there. Little did she realise that a larger conspiracy-to eliminate her-was being planned.

 

Suresh asked Asha to sleep in a bedroom which was close to the main hall. "He had planned a perfect murder,'' says Hargude. Suresh had asked his son-in-law, Narendra (43), to prepare three men for the job, one of whom was Pradeep Parab, the manager of their guest house in Bhuleshwar. The other two were Manohar Shinde (50) and Pavankumar Goenka (43), an employee of Subhash Goel.

 

The police said that Goenka had keys to an adjacent flat owned by Subhash. "There are two flats on the floor and they have a common door, but there is only one bolt accessible from Subhash's flat,'' says deputy commissioner (crime) Dhananjay Kamlakar. As per the plan, Goenka, along with Parab and Shinde, arrived in Narendra's car, parked it outside and walked into the building. The watchman knew them well. Goenka opened the adjacent flat and entered Suresh's apartment from the common door. The two others followed him.

 

They quickly entered Asha's room, which was close to the main hall. Suresh was asleep in one of the bedrooms (with a male attendant sleeping on the floor) while his wife Kamini slept in another (a maidservant sleeping in her room). The assailants had a kitchen knife and two slabs of granite. "They bludgeoned the senior citizen and stabbed her repeatedly with a knife on the chest and neck. They then escaped from the same route,'' says Kamlakar.

 

Parab was arrested within a month and admitted to having killed the woman. But the police claim he did not reveal the names of his accomplices until the crime branch began its probe and extracted his confession in front of a magistrate. The police have also conducted a lie detector, brain-mapping and narco test on him. "He has revealed the names of his accomplices. Though Suresh Goel subsequently died, he is a prime accused in the murder,'' says Kamlakar.