Delhi Triple murder: Police tackle switched off phones, India-Afghanistan match as alibi

Mahender Singh Manral
Police personnel near the house where an elderly couple and their domestic help were found dead with their throats slit, at Vasant Vihar in New Delhi (Photo: PTI)

Two phones that were switched off around 8.30 pm on Saturday and the India-Afghanistan World Cup match these are among the threads police are exploring as they question a man and a woman detained in connection with the murders of a senior citizen couple and their nursing attendant in Vasant Vihar.

According to police, the man, who is believed to have been in a relationship with the nursing attendant Khushboo Nautiyal (24), and a woman he was living with have emerged as suspects in the triple murder.

According to police, footage from near the home of Vishnu Mathur (80) and his wife Shashi Mathur (75) shows two people of the same build as the detained suspects arriving at their home around 11 pm Saturday and leaving around 2 am on a motorcycle.

After they were brought in for questioning, police tried to pinpoint their location using call detail records (CDR) but realised both their phones were switched off at the time. When asked about it, the man told police he was watching the India-Afghanistan match and had kept his phone aside, while the woman claimed she was changing her prepaid connection to postpaid, so her phone network was not working at that time. Police then asked the man about the sequence of the match which, an officer said, he was able to recount to an extent.

On Monday, police also received the post-mortem reports of the victims, which revealed that Khushboo received 30 stab injuries, while the couple received two stab injuries each. This, and the fact that nothing major was stolen from the home, has led police to believe Khushboo may have been the main target.

The three, police said, were found dead when a domestic help, Babli, arrived Sunday morning. She was employed to clean the house while Khushboo had been taking care of an ailing Shashi since August 18 last year.

Police said that around 8.30 am, when Babli arrived at the first-floor DDA flat, she saw blood oozing from beneath the door. She informed neighbours and they opened the door, which was bolted from outside. Police said the neighbours first found Khushboo s body inside the drawing room and then saw the bodies of the couple inside their bedroom.

During investigation, police scanned Khushboo s CDR and discovered she had made several calls to the detained man in the last three weeks, while he had made a single call to her. Police also found that he was staying in Mandawali with another woman. He has told police he works as a graphic designer with a private company in Sahibabad. As per his phone location, he was in Sahibabad till 6.30 pm Saturday, following which he headed home, an officer said. At 8.30 pm, the phone was switched off. It was switched back on at 5.06 am Sunday so the woman could listen to music, he told police.

Police officers also recreated the crime scene Monday and ascertained that entry into the house was friendly and the house had been ransacked. However, their belongings, Rs 6,300 in cash and six expensive watches were left intact. Phones of all three victims are missing, and have been switched off since 1 am Sunday.