A sessions court on Tuesday acquitted a 31-year-old carpenter who was in custody for six years on charges of robbing and murdering a 57-year-old woman residing alone in her Dadar home, where he had gone for work.
As per the complaint filed by the woman Beleza Cardozo's domestic help, she had found her employer lying in a pool of blood on the floor with severe head injury. Cardozo’s husband was then a captain in the merchant navy and not in the city and her two children, both in their thirties, were settled in the UK.
While initially the Shivaji Park police station had lodged the FIR against unknown persons, later the help had given a statement that on the day of the incident Nov 4, 2015, a carpenter had come to Cardozo’s home at around 8.40 am and had done the latch work of the door. She also said that Cardozo regularly wore a gold chain that was missing from her person. The help informed that the carpenter’s name is Manoj.
The police suspected from the injuries on Cardozo’s head that Manoj Varma was the culprit and had assaulted her with a sharp instrument. Cash and valuables were found missing from the cupboard too.
Varma, a native of UP, was at the time residing in Dharavi and was arrested. The police alleged that under the pretext of doing carpentry work he had entered the woman’s home with the motive to rob her chain.
Rejecting his bail application in 2017, the court had considered the nature of the offence in which it said he had allegedly committed murder of an old woman residing alone and committing theft in her house. It had said thus that he did not deserve bail.
The trial against Varma began in 2017 and the first witness of the total 16 witnesses to depose, was the domestic help. Varma had maintained throughout that he was falsely implicated, arrested only on suspicion and that the complainant, who had one key of the home, could have been the culprit. While the police had claimed that the gold chain was recovered at the instance of Varma, he claimed that it was planted.