The man allegedly choked the three-year-old boy to death for breaking a tea cup - Representational image REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

A man in the Indian city of Mumbai was arrested on Wednesday (4 October) for allegedly killing a three-year-old boy and assaulting the child's mother and sister. The accused reportedly choked the toddler to death for breaking a tea cup and forced the mother to help him dispose of the body.

The mother of two, Afsana Qureshi, 25, who has separated from her husband, was seeking help from the accused, Nitin Pathare, 36, in settling her divorce. She was staying at Pathare's Ghatkopar residence in Mumbai when the incident happened.

Qureshi, a resident of Nashik city in the state of Maharashtra in western India, met Pathare in a train and the two became friends, police told the Hindustan Times. On learning that the woman was facing trouble settling the divorce case, Pathare offered help, saying his brother is a lawyer in Mumbai. He invited her to the city.

Qureshi arrived in Mumbai with her two children on 6 September and met the lawyer, following which she decided to return to Nashik, but was instead invited by Pathare to his residence. He then detained the family at his apartment and used to regularly abuse them, the woman reportedly told police.

On 27 September, the woman went out of the house in search of a job as Pathare was jobless and unable to bear their costs, leaving the children in his care. She later got a call from Pathare saying that her son Ahil had died of natural causes.

Qureshi fainted at the sight of her dead son, but Pathare revived her and forced her to help him dump the toddler's body. He threatened her and her five-year-old daughter to not speak about the death.

The woman confronted the accused after she learnt from her daughter that Ahil was killed by Pathare. However, the man beat them up and also threatened to kill them.

Qureshi managed to flee the house with her daughter and sought a doctor's help and confided in him, who later alerted the police.

The accused has been charged with murder and attempt to murder, the police said.