A 48-year-old woman allegedly beat her mother-in-law to death using a frying pan in south Delhi’s Neb Sarai area, police have said and suspect that the accused might have grown frustrated with taking care of the 86-year-old who was suffering from arthritis.
On April 28, a person informed the police that his friend’s mother Hasi Som fell in her flat and was bleeding, police said.
Surjit Som (51), his wife Sarmishta Som (48) and their 16-year-old daughter have been living with her at Swastik Residency in Neb Sarai since 2014.
A senior police officer said the family hails from Kolkata and his mother was living in the West Bengal capital alone till March 2022 when he brought her to Delhi. He rented a flat for her in front of his own, the officer said.
When the police reached the spot, they found Hasi Som lying in the kitchen with multiple injuries on her face and skull, police said. Surjit said his mother was suffering from arthritis for a long time and had problems walking. A CCTV camera was found in the bedroom but it had no storage device in it. Still, it was taken into possession, police said. Surjit said he has a live feed from the camera on his phone as he monitors his mother’s daily routine. He also told the police that the camera was not working due to a power cut on the day of the incident.
Initially, family members as well as neighbours did not suspect any foul play.
The body was taken to the AIIMS mortuary and the autopsy was conducted on April 29.
During the post-mortem, the doctor opined that such injuries could not be caused by a normal fall and a detailed inquiry should be conducted, Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) Chandan Chowdhary said.
Surjit’s daughter said her mother and grandmother did not have a cordial relationship. Surjit too confirmed this, police said.
On the day of the incident, only Sarmishta was present in the flat.
Later, Surjit confessed that before calling the police he had taken out the memory card of the CCTV camera placed in the bedroom of the deceased, the DCP said.
The CCTV footage revealed that around 10:30 am on April 28, Sarmishta entered Hasi Som’s flat with a frying pan. She went behind the deceased in the kitchen which was out of CCTV coverage and dealt several blows to her. The elderly woman’s cries could be heard on the CCTV recording, Chowdhary said.
Surjit kept the memory card with him and saw the footage after the last rites of his mother. In the CCTV footage, he saw his wife entering his mother’s flat and leaving after some time. He shared his apprehension with the police, the police officer said.
The post-mortem report was received on Monday in which the death was attributed to ante-mortem injuries. According to the autopsy report, there were 14 injuries all over the body, police said.
Based on the content of the inquiry, Surjeet’s testimony, CCTV footage and the post-mortem report, a case under IPC section 302 has been registered and Sarmishta arrested, police said. Police said they could not find an immediate trigger for the incident, but suspect it could have been caused by the accused’s longstanding frustration of taking care of the elderly person and helping her with daily routine.