Delhi Fashion Designer Was Killed by the Man She Helped Get Out of Jail
The deceased's sister revealed that the her domestic help Bahadur would always joke that he will die along with Mala since he has been with us since our childhood. 'The words of Bahadur now almost seem prophetic,' she said.
(Photo: Facebook Profile/ Maya Lakhani)
New Delhi: Fashion Designer Mala Lakhani wound up a long conversation with her sister, saying she would call back after watching "Bigg Boss" but that was never to be. About an hour later, she was killed, allegedly by her own tailor who she had helped get out of jail, her sister Aarti Sharma said on Friday.
It was 'Meenu', as Mala was known in her family, who helped get Rahul out of jail when he was arrested for molestation, Aarti murmured, almost as if talking to herself.
Three men have been arrested in connection with the murder — Mala's master tailor Rahul Anwar (24), his cousin Rahmat (24) and his friend Wasim (25).
Rahul was arrested in 2017 for allegedly molesting a minor girl in Rangpuri Pahari area, police said.
"She would always say that Anwar is like my 'bachcha'," Aarti said.
Aarti was inconsolable, standing outside the Safdarjung Hospital mortuary to claim the body of her 53-year-old sister, who was found brutally stabbed to death along with her domestic help Bahadur in her bungalow in upscale Vasant Kunj Enclave in the early hours of Thursday.
"I had spoken to her at around 8.15 pm (on Wednesday). I spoke to her again and we ended up talking till 9.50 pm. She wanted to speak to my daughter but later said she will call us after 'Bigg Boss' gets over. But she never called back," Aarti told PTI.
It is hard to believe that Rahul stabbed her so brutally and did not even spare her face, Aarti said, standing outside the hospital with her husband Rahul Sharma, the first person to see the bodies with multiple stab injuries in the workshop of the sprawling home.
The bodies of Mala, who ran a boutique called Tulsi Creations in Green Park, and 50-year-old Bahadur, a Nepalese national, were found with at least 18 stab injuries each.
After the killings, allegedly following a long-standing dispute over unpaid dues, the accused looted jewellery worth lakhs of rupees and ransacked the house, police said, estimating that the incident took place between 10 pm and 11.30 pm on Wednesday.
Around 2.45 am on Thursday, the three men went to the police station to confess to the crime.
"They had even inflicted stab injuries on her face and it was hard to recognise her. She was very conscious about her appearance but look what they did to her... Bahadur's intestines were visible. The workshop where the murders took place had blood splattered all over the floor," Rahul Sharma told PTI.
Mala had even bought Rahul a motorcycle so he could commute to work.
Aarti also ran a boutique. About a year ago, Rahul visited her boutique to ask for work and did not inform her that he worked with her sister.
"I only learnt about it recently when one of my employees told me. I had never met Anwar in person before," she said.
She said she was aware of the monetary dispute between them and had discussed it in detail with Mala.
"Anwar wanted extra money for every cloth he stitched. They wanted some Rs 50 extra per piece for stitching. Since it was a meagre amount, we would have sorted it. We had never thought they would hatch a conspiracy to kill her over it. In fact, it was Rahul who told police about Aarti and her boutique. That's how police contacted me to inform me about the incident," she added.
The sisters had planned to meet on Sunday but an unexpected visit from a relative meant that they could not.
"Meenu's winter clothes had been kept in a cupboard in the storeroom where Bahadur used to sleep. The storeroom was next to the workshop where the incident happened.
"She was opening those cupboards on Wednesday to take out her things. Rahul must have thought she had kept cash in those cupboards, which is why they ransacked that room after killing Meenu and Bahadur," Aarti said.
Bahadur would always tell Mala that "we will die together". The words of Bahadur now almost seem prophetic,” Aarti said.
Police informed the family that the three accused allegedly searched Bahadur's room for money and were expecting to get Rs 30 lakh-40 lakh but did not find any cash.
"Bahadur would always joke that he will die along with Mala since he has been with us since our childhood. It's unfortunate that they both were killed so brutally," the sister added.
Bahadur, a Nepalese national, had been with them for the last 45 years and was “like a brother” to them
"He was an integral part of our family. He would be angry and instruct us like a brother," Aarti said.
Aarti's husband recalled Bahadur as a very emotional person and remembered how he would call them by their first name.
"He would take care of the house and of every one of us. We trusted him. He would hardly keep a tab on his salary it was usually deposited in his bank account," Sharma said.
Recalling Mala, Sharma said she wanted to get out of her monotonous life.
"She wanted to enjoy her life. She had made enough money and now wanted to travel the world. She had become healthier and took lot of care about her skin and looks," Sharma said.
The family would caution Lakhani against keeping so many people in her house since she lived alone but she would always say, "my home is my mandir".
"I would speak to Meenu at least four times in a day and we met once a week," an inconsolable Aarti said.
Mala was planning to leave designing and wanted to retire and pursue other interest, she said.
"Mala was planning to learn pot,tery and for that she was planning to buy a villa in Goa. She and my elder daughter were planning to shift to Goa. My sister and daughter were like buddies. They were very close to each other", Aarti said.
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