New Delhi, July 8 :
The 81-year-old widow of a former journalist with a reputed news agency was found burnt to death inside her flat here in the capital, police said Tuesday. The victim’s servant has been arrested for the suspected murder.
Rekha Duggal’s body was recovered around 9.30 p.m. Monday from the second-floor flat of her four-storey building in south Delhi’s posh Greater Kailash area.
Duggal’s younger sister and son-in-law along with the accused servant Neeraj, in his 20s, found her body.
The woman’s son-in-law, Manmohan, also a former journalist, told IANS: “My wife got a call from a neighbour, Saroj Prakash, around 9 p.m. Monday that her mother (Duggal) was missing.”
“We reached the house and found her body from the second floor. When we entered the floor, it was full of smoke and my mother-in-law’s body was burning in the bedroom.”
“We made a call to the fire service, and firefighters took out the body. In the meantime, police also reached there,” Manmohan told IANS.
“Duggal’s post-mortem examination report revealed that she was strangulated with a dupatta, beaten up and later set on fire,” said a police official.
The officer said the servant, Neeraj, who was employed seven months ago at Duggal’s home, has been arrested but police were yet to find out his motive.
An investigating officer said the victim, as per initial information, would go for a walk around 6 p.m. and come back around 7 p.m.
A reason for the servant’s arrest was that the woman was staying alone in the flat along with him, the police official said.
Rekha Duggal, whose husband K.K. Duggal – a journalist with the UNI news agency – died in 2005, was staying on the first floor of her house, which she had gifted to her elder sister residing in the US.
The second floor was gifted to her younger sister while the third and the fourth floors were given on rent to other people.
Duggal hailed from pre-independence Pakistan’s Gujranwala area. She later shifted to Karnal in Haryana.