Mahadevan Iyer, 48, an engineer working at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) was found dead in his apartment at Breach Candy, south Mumbai, late on Monday night. The police have registered a case of murder.

Mr. Iyer’s body was found on his bed with a gash on his throat and a string round his neck, leading the police to believe, at first, that it was a case of suicide. “However, the post-mortem report revealed a haemorrhage in the brain, likely to be caused when hit with a hard object. The death was due to haemorrhage. We, therefore, registered a murder case,” Himanshu Roy, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), told a press conference here on Tuesday.

While no arrest has been made yet, the police suspect an acquaintance or someone close to Mr. Iyer to be behind the murder.

“There are no signs of struggle. Moreover, the door was padlocked from outside, which means that someone apparently known to the [victim] had entered the house, taken the lock and locked the door,” R.K. Padmanabhan, Additional Commissioner of Police said. The original key to the apartment is missing.

A neighbour, who had a duplicate key, opened the apartment at 11.30 p.m. after several attempts to reach Mr. Iyer failed. “The door had not been opened. Newspapers were lying outside for two days. He could not be reached on his house phone, so the neighbour opened the door with his key,” Mr. Padmanabhan said. Mr. Iyer did not have a mobile phone.

The exact time of his death is not yet known. Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjay Mohite said the security guard saw Mr. Iyer return in a taxi on February 20. That was the last he saw of him.

Mr. Iyer’s residence was in Anandbhavan building, a government quarter for BARC employees. The engineer, like other employees, would commute to work using the official BARC bus.

The police are checking the security register of the building and recording statements of security guards, colleagues and neighbours. Very little is known of Mr. Iyer’s background as he led a solitary existence. He was single and lived alone. His mother resides at Vasai, Thane district.

“Someone who has worked with him for 20 years also does not know about him [as a person],” Mr. Mohite said.

K.N. Nair, Mr. Iyer’s uncle from Mumbai, told The Hindu that Mr. Iyer hailed from Kerala.

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