Panaji: A man has been arrested in Bengaluru in Karnataka in connection with the murder of celebrity perfumer Monika Ghurde, a senior Goa Police officer said on Sunday.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Vimal Gupta told reporters that suspect Raj Kumar, hailing from Punjab, was picked up from Bengaluru after he tried to withdraw money from an ATM card belonging to the 39-year-old deceased late on Saturday night.
Goa police have identified two persons behind perfume researcher Monika Ghurde’s murder. They were caught by CCTV camera at an ATM at Porvorim, about 3km from the scene of the crime, withdrawing money with her card, police said on Saturday. They also withdrew money in Bengaluru using the same card.
Police are expected to release more details about Kumar’s alleged role in the murder at a media briefing expected to be held later in the evening.
While the postmortem on Saturday revealed that Ghurde died due to smothering, the forensics department reserved its opinion on alleged sexual assault. Khurde, 39, was found dead on Thursday in her three-bedroom apartment in Sangolda village, around 10 km from Panaji. Her partially clothed body was found lying on bed, with her hands and feet tied.
The post-mortem examination report suggested she was strangled. The postmortem report said marks were found on her private parts, but the panel of doctors at Goa Medical College and Hospital reserved their opinion on whether there was forcible sexual intercourse pending a serological examination. The viscera and swab would be sent to central forensic science laboratory in Hyderabad for chemical analysis.
North Goa superintendent of police Umesh Gaonkar said cause of death was “asphyxia due to compression of mouth and neck,” and it appeared the persons involved were known to her. He said police were open to investigating all angles including robbery, murder and sexual assault.
Saligao police have also started recording the statements of victim’s friends, family members, neighbours and watchman of the complex. They have also visited places frequented by Ghurde to obtain clues.
Gaonkar said the watchman is being questioned to ascertain the time at which Ghurde returned to her apartment on Wednesday, and whether she was alone or accompanied by someone. He also said police are trying to establish if anything is missing from her flat.