Navi Mumbai: 31-year-old says murdered father, leaves cops baffled

A day after 62-year-old Vijaykumar Dhahotre was found murdered in his apartment, the Kopar Khairane police arrested his son for the crime on Tuesday. Nikhil Dhahotre, 31, has been charged with sections 302 (murder) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt using dangerous weapons) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). According to a press statement issued by the Kopar Khairane police, Nikhil, who is schizophrenic, confessed to killing his father and alleged he was driven to murder because he thought Dhahotre was making sexual advances towards him. Nikhil has been remanded to police custody for three days. He is expected to record a formal statement soon, said the police.

Dhahotre was a retired central government auditor and lived with his family in a flat at New Krishna Tower in Kopar Khairane. He had been largely house-bound since an accident five months ago. At 1.45pm, the manager of New Krishna Tower informed the police that a resident was lying injured at the door of one of the flats in the building. The police came to the location and found Nikhil, who was sent to Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation hospital to treat superficial injuries. Inside the flat, the police found Dhahotre lying in a pool of blood.

Dhahotre is survived by his wife Meenal, 58; his daughter Neha, 28; and Nikhil, 31, who is a mechanical engineer by training.

The police suspected Nikhil early on because he and Dhahotre were alone in the flat at the time of the murder. Nikhil, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, lived with his parents and is unemployed. “After he [Dhahotre] was discharged, we called him for interrogation. Initially he tried to mislead us by saying two persons had entered their flat in the afternoon and attacked him and his father,” said Shivajirao Awate, senior inspector of Kopar Khairane police station. “We then checked the CCTV footage of the building. We also took statements of the two watchmen … But we did not find any evidence of two such people entering the society,” said the police officer. Watchman Sukhdeo Jagdale, who was on duty on Monday, told HT that he had not seen any “suspicious” people enter New Krishna Tower and had said as much to the police.

Read more: Mumbai man hit with pressure cooker, dies; cops probe role of schizophrenic son

When the police interrogated Nikhil again, he confessed to having murdered his father. Awate said Dhahotre had been first been hit on the head with a pressure cooker and a pestle before being stabbed with a kitchen knife. The murder weapons have been recovered from the flat.

Initial investigations suggest Nikhil’s schizophrenia made him prone to violence. “From relatives’ statements, we have understood that Nikhil would often fight with his father for money,” Awate said. The motivation for murder remains unclear because Dhahotre keeps “making up stories”, said Awate. Among the motives Nikhil has offered, one is that he hoped to inherit Dhahotre’s property and that he was driven to murder because his father made sexual advances towards him. Sudhakar Pathare, deputy commissioner of police (zone I) said, “We are now investigating the case to find out if there were any other reasons behind the murder.”

First Published: Nov 14, 2018 01:07 IST

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