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Netaji Nagar couple murdered

80-year-old man apparently smothered to death, his 72-year-old wife strangulated using her own saree.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

An elderly couple were found dead inside their house in the Netaji Nagar area in southern Kolkata this morning, in what appears to be a case of murder. The deceased couple, identified as Dilip Mukherjee (80) and Swapna Mukherjee (72), lived alone on the first floor of their twostoreyed house on Ashoka Avenue.

Police said a plumber named Hari discovered the body of Swapna Mukherjee lying on the staircase near the entrance while he was entering the house and alerted the neighbours as well as the maid who works at the couple’s house.

Police officers immediately reached the spot and discovered the body of Dilip Mukherjee inside his bedroom on the first floor. While the elderly man’s face was covered with a pillow and his mouth was gagged with a piece of towel, blood was oozing out from the nose of the woman, who is believed to have been strangulated to death using her own saree. Their bodies, however, bore no external signs of injuries.

Police said the autopsy report confirmed their suspicions that it was a case of murder. “Prima facie, it appears to be a case of murder. We suspect that the perpetrators are well-known to the couple and they also had clear idea about the layout of the Mukherjee household. Preliminary investigation has revealed that the murder took place sometime between 10 and 11.30 p.m. on Monday night. It is highly unlikely that the lady would have opened the door to a stranger at that odd hour. There is certainly involvement of more than two persons in the crime,” said Murlidhar Sharma, joint commissioner of police (crime) of Kolkata Police who visited the spot along with forensic experts and deputy commissioner of police of South Suburban Division.

The homicide section of the city police has taken over the investigation.

There were a total of 10 almirahs inside the house out of which nine were found opened with the contents in a clutter, while a wooden almirah had been left intact. Police discovered about 2.50 lakh in cash, gold ornaments and fixed deposit certificates inside the unopened almirah. So far, police have interrogated seven persons including the relatives of the couple.

Police said that since the couple were childless, they were dependent on other persons and some of their relatives. Till now, police officers have found no discrepancies in the statements of Lata Mondal who has been working as a maid in the house for the last six months. Earlier, her aunt used to work for the couple.

Lata, originally from Sunderbans, used to stay outside elsewhere at night as she worked as an ayah while she looked after the couple’s needs during the day. Apart from her, police also interrogated the plumber, the businessman to whom the couple had rented out a room on the ground floor for his shop and a local resident who used to accompany the paralytic Dilip Mukherjee on his walks.

Police have also come to know that the couple had recently withdrawn Rs 50,000 from their bank account.

“The maid said that Dilip Mukherjee was an extremely cordial and amicable person who used to discuss his financial condition even with the strangers who came to work in his house. Many people frequented their house as the couple was very friendly. Since he had been in the roof-repairing business, he also knew a lot of plumbers, carpenters, masons and painters. He had his dining room painted and his ceilings repaired just four to five days back,” said an investigating officer.

The police are suspecting it to be a murder for gain but they are not ruling out the possibility of property-related rivalry either. Police are also scanning footage of CCTV cameras in the neighbourhood.

In another incident on the southern suburb of Narendrapur, the chopped -up bodies of another couple, Pradip Biswas (55) and Alpana Biswas (47), were founded in two trolley bags inside the toilets of a farmhouse where they used to live as caretakers.