Jaipur: On August 26, Neha Goyal suddenly screamed that her baby girl was missing, plunging the household of 13 in Jaipur into a state of panic.
The four-month-old was found inside an unused air-conditioner, motionless and covered in a blanket. Baby Mahika was dead, a hospital confirmed.
Hours later, the police would accuse Neha Goyal, 35, of slitting her baby’s throat with a kitchen knife. The tiny body had 17 stab wounds.
Neha, the mother of an eight-year-old daughter, was arrested on Thursday.
The police said faced with incriminating evidence, she admitted that she was upset about having a second daughter.
She reportedly said that in her desperation for a son, she considered IVF and surrogacy and even performed elaborate pujas. In the wealthy family of successful grain merchants, every option was within reach.
When Neha raised an alarm that her baby was missing, the entire family searched for nearly two hours.
After the baby’s body was found, the police, suspecting an inside job, locked up Neha’s bedroom and bathroom and also took samples of everyone in the family for forensic tests.
The blood on the baby matched that of her mother. Blood was also found in Neha’s bathroom, which had signs that it had been cleaned up.
Neha’s husband told the police he was shocked and had no idea that his wife could commit such an act.
“A knife was used to kill the baby, who had 17 injury marks on her body. The knife was been recovered at the instance of the accused,” said Jaipur police officer Angshuman Bhomia.
Stunned neighbours said they could not believe the extent of regressive thinking behind the crime in such an affluent and educated family.
“She had done pujas for a baby boy, we have interrogated the priests who did these pujas for her…she was very upset that she had a baby girl. This was planned murder,” said Mr Bhomia.