A 94-year-old retired External Affairs Ministry official was attacked and his 88-year-old wife stabbed to death during a robbery, allegedly by their personal security guard, at their home in south Delhi's Safdarjung Enclave, police said on Sunday. Baldev Raj Chawla and his wife Kanta Chawla lived on the upper ground floor of a building in the area, they said. Police said they lost their children a few years ago, and their security had hired a personal guard recently through a domestic help.
Their personal guard Rajesh (18) and his associates Gyanender (22), Om (18) and Pramod (26) have been arrested in connection with the case, they said, adding that they were apprehended from Lakhimpur Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh.
Pramod is a resident of Nepal’s Dhangarhi district and the rest of the Bajang district of the Himalayan nation. Police were informed about the robbery around 9 pm on Saturday.
Rajesh along with Gyanender and Om barged into the house wearing masks, while Pramod waited outside to help them escape, police said.
They tied Baldev’s hands and legs, but Kanta resisted. They stabbed the woman in her neck and she fell on a sofa unconscious, a senior police officer said.
The men went to the bedroom and took away cash and jewellery kept in cupboards, he said.
Baldev managed to go outside the house and alert neighbours, who informed the residents welfare association (RWA), the officer said.
When a police team reached the house, it found a man sitting in a room and the woman lying on a bed with stab injuries, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Devender Arya said.
Baldev and Kanta were taken to the Safdarjung Hospital where she was declared brought dead, he said, adding that the woman was stabbed as she resisted the robbery.
In CCTV camera footage, it was seen that the accused entered the house around 8:25 pm and left at 8:47 pm, police said.
During the investigation, it was learnt that Rajesh was a security guard for the building for a year and was hired by the couple as their guard on June 5 with the help of domestic help, who was not found involved in the crime, police said.
After the identity of the accused persons was established, a police team was sent to the Indo-Nepal border to catch the culprits, the DCP said.
Footage from CCTV cameras in surrounding areas was checked. Footage showed three of the accused leaving in a taxi from AIIMS, Arya said.
The taxi was traced as most people going to Nepal used a particular service. The taxi was hired by Rajesh and his associates two to three days ago, he said.
They had paid the taxi driver Rs 12,000 from the robbed amount. The driver was not aware of the crime. Police traced the taxi to Lakhimpur Kheri near the Indo-Nepal border, the DCP said.
Two teams were dispatched and the local police in Lakhimpur Kheri were infomed, the DCP said, adding they were eventually caught.
Those involved in the crime used to work as guards and domestic help in Delhi-NCR. Rajesh and Gyanendra had planned to rob the couple four to five days back, he said.
Gyanendra was armed with a knife and had screwdriver when he attacked the couple, Arya said, adding that a case has been registered.
Police claimed to have recovered Rs 55,000, jewellery and the knife used in the commission of the crime.
Jitendra Kumar, who works as a guard at the building where the Chawlas lived, said this is for the first time that such an incident has taken place.
Kumar said when he received information he rushed to the house and saw the woman lying injured on the floor.
RWA president VK Malhotra, who lives in the adjacent building of the Chawlas, said the couple was registered with Delhi Police''s Senior Citizen Scheme.
"We have a security guard here 24 hours, one in the morning while another in night hours. The couple had also hired a separate guard recently," he said.
The couple's personal guard was not verified by police, he said.
(With PTI inputs)