Twenty-four hours after two women were found murdered in a flat in Bhayandar (West), the police claim to have caught the killer — Abbas Nassir Hussain Sayyad, 37, a history-sheeter from Mira Road.
Though the exact motive for the murders has not been confirmed, the police claim that Sayyad's “close relationship” with the women and a financial dispute could have led to the heinous act.
"After preliminary interrogation, we believe that close relationship with both the women and a financial dispute had led to the murders. We are also considering robbery as a motive as gold ornaments worth Rs12 lakh are missing from the flat. We also suspect that he roped in his friend/s," said Ravindra Sengaonkar, superintendent of police (Thane rural).
The bodies of Flora Rodericks, 45, and Shilpa Gandhi, 39, were recovered from Flora's flat in Hemakunj Apartments near Bassein Catholic Bank on Monday night. Their heads were smashed with a sharp weapon. Flora's son, Naizar, who studies in a college in Vasai, informed the police about the incident.
During investigation, the police learnt that Sayyad had ‘close relations’ with both Flora and Shilpa and would often drop in at Flora’s house as her husband was in the UK for work. They also found that Sayyad had taken a loan of Rs15,000 from Shilpa and both women were pressurising him to return the money.
"On Monday night, Flora called Sayyad on his mobile phone and they had a heated argument about the money. Neighbours heard Flora hurling abuses to someone over the phone. Later, they saw Sayyad visit her house a few hours before the bodies were discovered," said a police official, requesting anonymity.
When the police did not find Sayyad in his flat in Ramanand building in Ramdeo Park, they launched a manhunt for him.
Following a tip-off, a police team, led by senior inspector Sunil Wadke, arrested Sayyad from Mira Road. They also recovered the two women's mobile phones, his blood-stained clothes and wristwatch and Rs8,250.
"On Monday night, Sayyad had gone to Sai Angan Hospital in Ramdeo Park to get treatment for the deep cuts on his hands, which look like they were caused by a sharp weapon, and scars on his face. Though Sayyad claims he was involved in an accident, we do not believe him," said Sengaonkar. "Sayyad is a history-sheeter with seven to eight cases of cheating registered against him. He is also drug addict."
On Wednesday, the police produced Sayyad before the Thane sessions court and he was remanded in police custody until October 9.