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Twin deaths at Sunday dawn

It was a rude Sunday morning awakening for two Calcutta areas. Residents of Deb Lane, in Entally, woke up to the ghoulish sight of a charred body and a burning taxi in a corner of the road. Morning-walkers at the Dhakuria Lakes were greeted by an equally blood-curdling sight: the body of a man with currency notes stuffed in his pocket.

The man whose body was found beside the burning taxi on Deb Lane was later identified as cabbie Jailal Sahani. He was in his mid-thirties and lived on Lenin Sarani, not very far from the spot where his body was found, police said.

Though police claim that initial investigations indicated a case of suicide, Sahani’s relatives maintain he was killed by car-jackers.

“It looks like an act of suicide,” said Entally police station officer-in-charge Abhranta Majumdar. He added that the police will explore “all possible motives and angles” and wait for the post-mortem report before reaching any “definite conclusion.”

Officers said a youth, who sleeps in an adjoining shop in Deb Lane, first spotted the burning taxi around 4.30 am. His cries drew other residents out of their houses. They called up the fire brigade and then Entally police station officers. Two fire-tenders doused the flames but the man was long dead, firemen said.

“The man may have rolled out of the taxi after getting singed in his sleep. But it was impossible for us to find out how the taxi caught fire,” a senior fire brigade officer admitted.

Motor mechanics of a garage located a few yards away had fixed Sahani’s taxi some time ago, but failed to remember him, police later said.

Employees of a local marriage hall claimed they had neither seen nor heard anything.

At the Dhakuria Lakes, a middle-aged man was found lying on the beaten track.

The pockets of his trousers were crammed with 80 currency notes of Rs 100 denomination.

Those who came for their constitutional were shocked at the discovery and raised an alarm. None of them could, however, recognise the man and told investigators that he was not from the locality.

The police took out the currency notes from his pocket and counted them in public view. “He had Rs 8,000 — in new notes — on him but did not have any identity card,” a Lake police station officer said.

Though the police were trying their best, it was unlikely that his identity would ever be established unless his family or friends came forward, the officer admitted. “We expect the currency notes to provide us with some leads,” he added.

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