49 days after her disappearance, police in Navi Mumbai have recovered remains suspected to be of Sandhya Singh, the missing sister of music composers Jatin and Lalit Pandit and yesteryear actresses Sulakshna and Vijeta. Her brother Lalit said the remains were identified by some jewellery found with them.
Sandhya, 50, was missing since Dec 13 from her residence in the NRI Colony at Seawoods Estate here.
Though police are tightlipped about the cause of death, they suspect murder for robbery and the remains have been sent for forensic tests and autopsy.
Sandhya's husband, Indore-based Customs & Central Excise Commissioner Jaiprakash Singh had lodged a missing person complaint with the Nerul police in Navi Mumbai and even announced a reward of Rs.50,000 for any information on her.
The remains were found by a 61-year old British geologist and ornithologist M. J. Oates, while taking part in last Sunday's 9th Mumbai Bird Race. He was looking out for birds in the posh Palm Beach Road when he stumbled across a skull and some bones and informed police.
An official said that when Sandhya left her home Dec 13, she was reportedly carrying jewellery worth around Rs.2.60 million which she planned to deposit in a bank locker.
A friend gave Sandhya a lift to the bank, but she was not heard of since then, the official said.
As time passed, her family continued to hope that she would return safely.
"But that was not meant to be," said Lalit."
Our sister went missing on December 13.She never returned. As the days turned into more than a month, we lost hope. Now her body was recovered from a secluded area near on Palm Beach Road near the Delhi Public school."
"We only knew it was her because of the mangalsutra and the rudraksha and also a cap in her tooth. Otherwise there was no way we could tell whose body parts they were...What our sister must have gone through before she was killed so brutally...
"I wouldn't wish this kind of a gruesome tragedy on any family.We can't begin to describe what we're going through. What harm had our sister done to anyone? If they wanted to rob her of her jewellery why kill her so brutally? What do we tell our sister's children about what happened to their mother?" he added.