Old man killed, woman injured in robbery cases at adjacent houses

Staff Reporter

Security guards questioned, involvement of a gang suspected

NEW DELHI: A senior citizen was killed and another seriously injured in separate cases of robbery at two adjoining houses in the posh Kalkaji Extension area here in the early hours of Wednesday. The police suspect it to be the handiwork of the same gang.

Eighty-six-year-old Janak Raj Likhi, who had retired from the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity 26 years ago, was found murdered on the ground floor of his house in the morning. His daughter-in-law Navleen, who lives with her husband Anil and two sons on the first floor, said the murder came to light after the family's domestic help arrived around 7:15 a.m.

“Since my father-in-law was not responding to repeated knocks, we opened the door with a duplicate key and found him lying dead on the bed,” she said. Mr. Likhi's mouth was tied with a rag and so were his hands and legs.

Preliminary investigations revealed that it was a robbery case and that the intruders had entered the house by removing a window grill, following which they overpowered Mr. Likhi and decamped with some valuables.

“Mr. Likhi actively participated in all activities of the residents' welfare association. He was a lively person, always eager to help others,” said his shocked neighbour M.C. Kakkar.

Mr. Likhi's murder was detected over three hours after 75-year-old Vidya Gulabani was found lying on her bed with her hands and legs tied and mouth wrapped with a cloth in an adjoining house.

Ms. Gulabani was sleeping on the ground floor and her son Ramesh and daughter-in-law Neena were on the first floor when the robbers struck. They climbed a ledge, removed a window grill and entered the building.

The robbers came down to the ground floor and overpowered her and decamped with jewellery and about Rs.12,000 in cash. The incident came to light around 3:45 a.m. when Ms. Gulabani's grandson Anubhav returned home from a birthday party and heard her writhing in pain. He raised an alarm, following which the police were informed around 4:15 a.m. The victim was rushed to Holy Family Hospital where she has been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. “Fortunately I arrived in time,” said Anubhav, adding that her condition was serious.

The police said Ms. Gulabani was not in a position to provide them any information about the incident. “She cannot see from one eye and does not even know why she has been taken to hospital,” said a police officer.

The family's domestic help Hukum, who lives on the ground floor along with his wife and two children, also did not have any clue to the incident.

“Circumstantial evidence suggests involvement of the same gang as both the incidents took place around the same time, the robbers entered the houses by removing the grills and the victims were incapacitated in the same manner,” said a police officer, adding that separate cases have been registered.

The police have questioned the three private security guards deployed in the area on Tuesday night.

“It is shocking that they did not notice anything suspicious. Although it is a gated colony, some of the gates were left unmanned and unlocked,” the police officer said.

They are also planning to quiz those working at a nearby under-construction hospital. “The post-mortem report will ascertain the cause of Mr. Likhi's death,” said the officer.