Mumbai, Feb 19: Reports that Sandhya Singh, sister of music composers Jatin and Lalit Pandit, was a desperately lonely woman and sought strangers' company for solace, have not gone down well with the family.
The family is said to be less than satisfied with the manner in which the police probe is being conducted.
"Attempts are being made to pin the crime on the family. Children were interrogated. They were asked things about their mother, which no son or daughter could even bear to hear. And now attempt is to portray Sandhya as a lonely, desperate woman seeking the friendship of strangers. Sandhya's husband, who is shattered by the death, is being harassed through very insensitive interrogation," said Lalit.
Sandhya, 50, was missing since Dec 13 from her residence in Nerul. However, 49 days after her disappearance, police in Navi Mumbai recovered the remains believed to be of her. Sandhya's sisters are Vijeta Pandit and Sulakshana Pandit.
"Sandhya was not an unhappy woman. Her only sorrow was that her husband was in a transferable job and unable to stay in Mumbai with her while she had to stay in Mumbai for her children's education. Sandhya was very close to her daughter. Recently her daughter, a brilliant student, left for Manipal for further studies. That was a big blow to Sandhya," said Lalit.
"On Dec 17, Sandhya was to fly to Indore to be with her husband, who is posted there. She was murdered some days before that. Sandhya was a 50-plus lady with two grown-up children and she's no more here to defend herself."
The composer urges people to respect their sentiments.
"For people outside the family to come forward with stories of her loneliness at a time like this is very hurtful for the family. Please grant us some dignity, privacy and respect. We're going through hell," said Lalit.
"Instead of focussing on the investigation (of the murder), attention is being deflected. Sandhya's life may have been far from perfect. Does that give anyone the right to kill her?" he asked.
The family has approached Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil to help them in the case. Lalit admits that his sister had to be admitted into the hospital once.
"We always tried to visit Sandhya whenever we were on the way back from Pune to Mumbai because Sandhya's home is in Nerul, which was on the way. Once we found her ill at home. We brought her to Juhu and admitted her to a hospital," said Lalit.
"Rather than find her assassins, why is her character being assassinated? Let us suppose she was lonely and said so to someone. How did this get into public domain? We had no option but to take the case to the central crime branch. We feel very relieved that the honourable minster R.R. Patil has transferred the case into responsible hands."
"Our family is going through the most horrific times. The night when I was informed that a body suspected to be Sandhya was found, was the worst night of my life. I can't begin to tell you what my wife and I went through that night as we waited for morning to proceed to identify the body," he added.
And now sister Sulakshana Pandit, who is of psychologically frail health, has to be informed of Sandhya's death.
"The whole family would have to break the news to her as gently as possible. It isn't easy," said. Lalit.