The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Property dispute clue to slit-throat murders

An elderly couple was found murdered early on Thursday in their Ganganagar home, not far from the airport.

Police said the throats of Sanjiv Sarkar, 67, and Jharna Sarkar, 58, had been slit in their bedroom. Sanjiv was a retired employee of the surface transport department and Rina a teacher in a primary school of Belghoria. They did not have children.

The murder motive, police and neighbours, said could lie in a property dispute.

Sanjiv and his brothers’ families used to live in a one-storey building near Scoutpara, in Madhyamgram. His eldest brother had died recently and was survived by five daughters, all of whom were married and settled in or close to the locality.

On Wednesday night, two of Sanjiv’s nieces were at home, as was his brother, a bachelor.

On Thursday morning, one of the nieces noticed a trail of blood outside Sanjiv and Jharna’s bedroom. As she raised the alarm, her sister and uncle rushed in and found Sanjiv lying on the floor, close to the door, with his throat slit.

Rina lay some distance away, near the bed, her throat bearing a similar, fatal wound. The bed sheet was out of place and some pillows were on the floor, hinting at a struggle put up by Jharna before her death.

“Circumstantial evidence clearly points to the fact that the murderer was known to the family. He knew his way around the house that enabled him to easily enter and then leave,” said Basudeb Bag, North 24-Parganas district police superintendent. “We have initiated an investigation and hope to pick up the trail of the killer soon,” added Bag.

Among those whose trails the airport police station has picked up to try and crack the murder mystery is Palash, Jharna’s younger brother.

“Palash often used to stay over when he came visiting his sister (popularly known as Rina in the para) and brother-in-law. He worked in an engineering firm in Belghoria and used to look after them. He was almost like a son to them,” said Mira Das, a next-door neighbour of the Sarkars.

A property dispute had broken out in the Sarkar home, neighbours added. The plot of contention was a two-cottah square owned by the murdered couple.

“Sanjiv and Jharna had given a plot of land to two of their married nieces who had settled there. But recently there was some trouble over possession of this plot, which snowballed,” observed a neighbour.

Police, too, indicated that divisions over the distribution of property could have been the prime reason behind the murder of the couple.

“Property dispute is one of the major causes in the murder,” said Ajay Nand, additional superintendent of police of North 24-Parganas.

“Besides the two-cottah plot in question, we have also come to know that the couple had withdrawn money from their provident fund and gratuity. We are checking whether a relative had asked for the amount and for what,” he added.

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