Grant Road man triggered by son asking to divorce mother: Cops
Financial distress led to frequent fights between the couple. Wife and children lived away from the accused
Mumbai: Days after Grant Road resident, 54-year-old Chetan Ratanshi Gala, ran amok in the neighbourhood with a 12-inch kitchen knife, killing three and injuring two, his son Deepen, hinted that the imminent break-up of the family may have triggered the violent act.
On Monday, police officials said, shortly before the incident, Gala had had his lunch, brought to him by one of his daughters. After a siesta, he called Deepen, requesting him to return to their residence in Parvati Mansion along with his mother and sisters. Deepen responded, saying he should forget about his wife and children, and instead start divorce proceedings.
Soon after, an enraged Gala attacked his next-door neighbours Jayendrabhai and his wife Illa Mestry, who were seated in the veranda, and eventually Jeniel and her mother Snehal Brahmbhatt, and a house staff Prakash Waghmare. The Mestrys and Jeniel succumbed to the injuries soon after, while Snehal was admitted in a private hospital in critical condition. The police said she is recovering after a surgery and has started talking.
Waghmare, who used a pillow to save himself, has escaped with a single stab injury on his stomach.
The D B Marg police, who are investigating the case, said that Chetan Gala was suspicious of his wife Aruna and never allowed her to step out of the house. Neighbours knew him to pick up fights with members of his family daily, said a police officer.
He was in financial distress and wished to sell his shop and flat. He also wanted to sell a land parcel in his native place, but neither his wife nor his brothers agreed, leading to frequent quarrels between the spouses, the officer said. This led the wife and children of the accused to leave him to live separately.
“He didn’t have money as he was jobless. He was struggling to pay even his daughters’ college fees. He wanted to sell properties and use some of the money to buy a property in the suburbs, and the remaining funds to meet the family’s expenses,” said the police officer. After his wife and children left him, he was under mental stress and kept on urging them to return to Parvati Mansion.
On Friday, after his conversation with his son, when he stepped out of the house and saw Illa Mestry, his neighbour, combing her hair, flashes of a their strained relationship from the past surfaced – in 2016, they had quarrelled over space to dry out their clothes. Later, he is known to have slapped her son Devang over water supply issues. The matter was reported to the local police and the issue resolved amicably. Thereafter, whenever Illa saw her neighbour she slammed the door on him and went to her house. On Friday, when Gala saw her, he suspected her of inciting his wife into deserting him and started stabbing her, said the police officer.