An argument that erupted over a child playing with a stray pup snowballed into a murderous assault, leaving a 21-year-old man dead and his mother injured. The accused, who had fled the scene, was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch within 24 hours of the crime.
According to the Juhu police, the incident occurred in the Nehru Nagar area in Vile Parle at around 9.30 p.m. on Wednesday. The police said that the victim, Suraj Kanojia (21), and the accused, Shekhar Nair (55), stay next to each other. Suraj is a school dropout while Nair is a driver by profession living alone in the house.
“Suraj's nephew was playing with a stray pup outside their house and Nair was getting increasingly disturbed by the noise. When Nair repeatedly scolded the child, Suraj's mother, Laxmi, objected to it, leading to a heated argument between them. A furious Laxmi called up Suraj, who came rushing home to confront Nair,” police inspector Dilip Dhaingade, Juhu police station said.
Suraj went straight to Nair's door and asked him what business he had speaking to his mother so rudely. The argument escalated and Nair went storming inside his house, grabbed a kitchen knife and attacked Suraj as well as Laxmi.
“The attack was so brutal that both Suraj and Laxmi sustained serious slash wounds. Nair fled from the spot even as both of them fell down, bleeding profusely,” a resident of the same locality, who witnessed the entire incident, said.
Suraj and Laxmi were rushed to the Cooper Hospital, where Suraj was declared dead before admission, while Laxmi had to be administered 18 stitches. The hospital authorities informed the Juhu police and a team was rushed to conduct inquiries. An FIR was registered against Nair and a manhunt was launched for him.
The Crime Branch Unit IX was also instructed to conduct parallel inquiries into the matter.
“The accused had left his cell phone in his house before fleeing and hence, cellular location mapping was out as an option. Based purely on human intelligence, we tracked down the accused to the fish market in Khar Danda and picked him up from there,” a Crime Branch officer said.
Nair was handed over to the Juhu police station at around 12.30 p.m. on Thursday and charged with murder under the Indian Penal Code. He was subsequently produced in court and remanded in police custody till June 8, officers said.
Meanwhile, a pall of gloom hung over the Nehru Nagar area on Thursday evening as Laxmi, still in pain from her injuries, returned home along with her dead son's body. A throng of relatives and neighbours rallied around the inconsolable aggrieved mother and the people who had come to pay their respect expressed shock and fury in equal parts about a life lost so soon over such a meaningless reason.