New Delhi: Armed robbers smothered to death the 35-year-old son of a retired senior lawyer, while his parents were gagged and bound in another room of their house, police said on Thursday.

The robbers, numbering half a dozen, ransacked the house in east Delhi's Preet Vihar area for an hour and fled with jewellery worth lakhs of rupees and Rs.20,000 cash. The robbers entered the house around 2.30 am on Thursday by cutting the grill of one of the windows on the ground floor.

They first barged into the room where SK Dutta, 68, and his wife Prabha, 65, were sleeping. "When they tried to resist, the assailants gagged and tied their hands and legs with the clothes. On hearing the commotion, Dutta's son, Animesh alias Baba awoke but before he could do anything, four members of the group overpowered him too. They smothered him to death with a pillow," said a neighbour, Mohit.

After the robbers fled, Prabha managed to free herself and informed the neighbours and her married daughter, Bushra, who live in the same area, he said. Animesh was taken to Metro Hospital, where the doctors pronounced him dead.

Police said as there were no injury marks on the body, it was believed that he was smothered to death. However, the post-mortem report will confirm the exact cause of death."Jewellery worth lakhs of rupees, Rs.20,000 cash and three mobile phones have been found to be missing from the house," a senior police officer said.

Animesh owned a textile shop in the Preet Vihar area. Police have launched a hunt to nab the culprits. The CCTV footage of the area where the house is located is being examined and the security guards of the locality have been questioned.

(Agencies)

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