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Trader found murdered in hotel room

Suman Bihari, 32, was strangled to death in his hotel room in central Calcutta late on Thursday. Hotel attendants recovered the body on Friday morning.

Initial investigations revealed that Bihari, a trader in dress materials, had checked into a hotel in the city’s business hub on Thursday morning with a friend, Motilal Sau. The hotel registration book shows them to be from Motilal Lane, in Shahgunge, Murshidabad.

Deputy commissioner of police (central) Zulfiquar Hasan said there was no sign of Sau, 32. “We are tapping our sources in the area to try and locate him,’’ an officer handling the case said.

Hotel authorities claimed Motilal and Bihari had never checked in before and the staff had never seen them in the area. Bowbazar police said they have contacted their counterparts in Murshidabad to verify the address in the hotel register and check the antecedents of the duo.

“Bihari and Sau had booked a twin-bed room on Thursday morning and both stayed put in the hotel till afternoon. Sau had ventured out for half an hour, around 2 pm,’’ an attendant said on Friday. After a while, the two ordered “beer and snacks’’.

A hotel employee said the duo did nothing to “rouse any suspicion”. But hotel staff at the reception later told the police that two youths had came calling for Bihari in the evening. “They were in the room with him for about an hour, before leaving the hotel,’’ said a senior officer of Bowbazar police station. Another young man had come to see Bihari at around 7 pm and left half an hour later.

After that, Bihari and Sau ordered dinner and then retired for the night. Hotel attendants said they were not called to the room even once on Friday morning. Around 10.30 am, one of them noticed that it was locked from the outside.

“Our attendants alerted us that they had seen the room locked from the inside early in the morning, but it was now bolted from the outside, with no sign of the guests,’’ said an official of the hotel. The door was opened and Bihari was found lying on the bed.

Zulfiquar Hasan said there were “strangulation marks” on Bihari’s throat and evidence to suggest that he had been gagged with two pillows. There was no sign of Sau, whom none of the hotel employees seems to have seen leaving the room.

Officers from the Bowbazar police detective department, who interrogated the manager of the hotel and other employees, said Bihari was not carrying any ID papers with him.

“We are starting from scratch and have to confirm the identity and trace the residence of the deceased,’’ said Hasan. The room has been sealed, some documents seized and the body sent for post-mortem.

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