A 65-year-old artist was found dead in her bungalow-cum-studio in Arpora village of north Goa on Sunday, PTI reported. Police suspect artist Shireen Mody’s gardener, Praful Jana, murdered her and then died while trying to escape the scene.

“The murder of Mody and the death of her gardener seem to be the fallout of a fatal scuffle between them on Sunday,” Inspector Navlesh Desai told PTI. “Praful hit Mody on her head with a blunt object, due to which she died on the spot.” Praful Jana allegedly tried to flee the crime scene, during which he fell down and later succumbed to his injuries. The murder occurred between 10.30 am and 11 am.

Mody was allegedly murdered with a zinc rod that was used to hit her on the back of the head. Her daughter Saffron Wiehl and other servants found her body. “As per the investigation, there was no scuffle between them and double murder is ruled out,” north Goa Superintendent of Police Utkrisht Prasoon said, according to The Times of India.

After the murder, Jana may have panicked and tried to escape but the huge compound walls made it difficult, Deputy Superintendent of Police Gajanan Prabhudesai said, adding that the gardener may have tried to climb the wall and fell down. He said that a passerby had seen Jana at the compound wall and offered him water, which he refused. The body has been sent for postmortem.

Mody was taken to the Goa Medical College and Hospital near Panaji and Jana to a district hospital in Mapusa. Both were declared dead on arrival.

“The CCTV footage has confirmed the incident, while the neighbours also gave a statement that they saw Praful falling down in his attempt to escape,” Desai told PTI.

Originally from south Mumbai, Mody had moved to Goa around 30 years ago and set up Studio Arpora, an art gallery along with her artist-cum-illustrator daughter.

Superintendent of Police Prasoon said that Mody lived with her daughter and a domestic staffer in the premises, which also had additional structures that she used to rent out. Police said that Jana was an alcoholic and Mody used to often rebuke him for not doing his work, adding that there was a possible verbal argument that broke out between them on Sunday morning.

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