Ex-MEA employee murdered at home

Tenant discovers body, informs police

A 70-year-old retired employee of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was found killed at her home in east Delhi’s Chitra Vihar on Sunday afternoon. 

Police suspect the assailants gained a friendly entry in the house to commit a robbery. A case of murder and robbery has been registered with Preet Vihar police station and CCTV footage from nearby areas seized for investigations. No suspects had been identified and no arrests made till late on Sunday night.

“The woman Sumanbala Bhatnagar stayed alone on the ground floor of her two-storey building after her husband, also a retired officer with MEA, passed away a few years ago. Her son works in Chennai while her two daughters live in different parts of east Delhi with their husbands,” said police.

The first floor of her house was rented out and it was her tenant who discovered her lying dead on her bed a little after 3 pm on Sunday. The tenant generally made telephone calls to Bhatnagar whenever water supply to her flat was disrupted.

But on Sunday, when Bhatnagar did not respond to the phone calls, the woman decided to go down and check with her and request her to switch on the water pump. Instead, she found the doors of the house open and Bhatnagar lying dead on a bed in one of her rooms.

The victim had been strangled, possibly with bare hands. She also suffered injuries to her head and was bleeding from her nose and ears. 

The tenant informed the police control room at 3.25 pm and police rushed Bhatnagar to Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital. She was, however, declared brought dead.

Though some items in the room where she was lying dead were found to be scattered around, police said the house was not ransacked. However, police said some things have been missing reported by her family which indicates a robbery.

A senior police officer told Deccan Herald that it is likely the handiwork of people known to the victim. 

“The murderers gained a friendly entry into the house. They also appeared to know that the woman stays undisturbed and there would be no threats from anyone,” said the officer, adding they also knew what was where in the house.

Police are also probing the role of some small-time but regular service providers in the area as they stood a good chance of gaining friendly entries upon winning the woman’s trust. 

Over the last few years, crimes by some such elements have emerged in parts of east Delhi.

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