CHENNAI: The 41-year-old Covid-19 patient, whose decomposed body was found in the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital two weeks after she went missing, was murdered by a woman staff of the hospital, police investigations have revealed.
On Tuesday, the cops arrested one Rathi Devi, a contract worker, who allegedly killed the victim, M Sunitha, to steal money from her. Sunitha’s body was left in a spot on the eight floor of the hospital that is rarely visited, and hence went unnoticed for two weeks.
According to the police, Rathi Devi initially claimed to have taken Sunitha to the scan unit and then dropped her at the ward on the night of May 23. Rathi Devi, however, on the pretext of taking the victim to the scan centre, took her to the eighth floor on a wheelchair using an emergency lift.
There, Rathi Devi strangled Sunitha and dumped her body in the EB room near the staircase, the police said, adding that she took her cash and mobile phone. She laid Sunitha’s body on the floor, as though she was sleeping, with her slippers under her head, the police explained.
Rathi Devi then allegedly left the hospital with the victim’s cash and mobile phone. “Later, she confessed to murdering Sunitha to meet her expenses as she was in dire need of money. She told us she noticed Sunitha counting Rs 500 notes in her bag,” said a police officer.
Another senior police officer said, “The hyoid bone usually breaks during strangulation, but Sunitha’s was not broken.” Earlier, the police had said the autopsy report did not indicate any foul play. However, they later sent viscera samples to the forensic lab for further investigation, which indicated that Sunitha was strangled. The police have recovered the stolen mobile phone from Rathi Devi.
Sunitha was found dead on the eighth floor of Tower-3 of the RGGGH on June 8. She had been undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at the hospital since May 21, and went missing from a ward in B-wing of the third floor of Tower-3 on May 23. The last record of her oxygen saturation level was 72 per cent. Sunitha’s husband, Mouli, who was searching for her, was informed about an unidentified body. He identified the body as his wife’s, the police said, adding that, a case was registered. Mouli is a professor of electrical and electronics engineering at a private engineering college in Andhra Pradesh.