CHENNAI: The city police on Thursday claimed they solved the murder case of oncologist Dr Rohini Premkumari (67) after they rounded up three including a juvenile, from Uthukottai, Thiruvallur, 60 kms from Chennai.
The three had worked in the palatial house on Gandhi Irwin Road, Egmore three months ago to fix tiles in the garden area and were aware that the occupants were elderly women, police said.
“The accused, Raja (21), Hari (20) and a minor boy had come to steal valuables. When the doctor saw them, a scuffle broke out. They throttled and killed her,” city police commissioner Ashutosh Shukla said in his first address to the media after taking charge.
The murder happened on the night of May 7, and was brought to police notice the next day. The body was found by her octogenarian mother, Subadhra Nair and a relative, Parasuraman in the garden. Her limbs were tied. A widow, Rohini of Kottayam was a well known oncologist and anti-tobacco crusader.
Initially, police said no valuables were stolen either from the house or from the doctor. On Wednesday, however, police said four-and-a-half sovereigns of gold and a mobile phone were stolen.
When asked about the property dispute angle that was pursued initially, the Commissioner Ashutosh Shukla said it would be probed too. The police denied that the property documents were stolen and claimed that they were intact.
Police have recovered the stolen jewellery. One of them was involved in a two-wheeler theft. All three were school drop-outs doing menial jobs, police said. The two youth were remanded in judicial custody.
They watched movie before executing burglary
The investigators probing the murder of Dr Rohini Premkumari had prepared a list of visitors to her house in the last six months to identify the suspects. A contractor who had brought the boys to work there was first suspected and detained by police. “It was clear after the probe that he had no role to play in the murder,” police said. Raja, Hari and the juvenile were from neighbouring non-descript villages near Uthukottai and had committed the murder after a bout of drinking. “They had first drank alcohol and then went to a movie in Thiruvallur. Plotting to steal from the doctor’s house, they returned to the city in the evening of May 7,” police said. As they scaled the compound wall and entered the house around midnight, Dr Rohini walked out when her dog began barking. “One of them punched her face and as she fell to the ground, they choked her to death with a foot on her neck,” police surmised. Along with the four-and-a-half sovereign gold jewellery, they also took her mobile phone.