The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Missing twist to murder mystery
- In-law plea reopens mother-daughter death case

Are they dead or alive' Were they murdered or did they go missing'

Remember Anindita Banerjee and her seven-year-old daughter Aloknanda, of Behala, who were “killed” seven months ago by husband Snehasish' Remember how their bodies were “recovered” from a guest-house in Bhubaneswar'

A habeas corpus petition by Snehasish’s father, Manonit Banerjee, in Calcutta High Court, and some other developments relating to the murder mystery have forced the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to reopen the case.

Now, police are not sure whether the mother and child were killed by Snehasish or were spirited away by someone else.

Soon after Anindita and Aloknanda disappeared in October last year and Anindita’s brother Swayansiddha Das “identified” the two decomposed and exhumed bodies, police had announced in Calcutta that Snehasish was on the run after murdering his wife and daughter.

Recently, however, DIG (CID) C.V. Murlidhar issued an advertisement in local newspapers, seeking the whereabouts of Aloknanda. According to high court sources, the insertion was made on the basis of a mysterious turn the case took following the intervention of Snehasish’s father.

“Swayansiddha is also confused. According to an FIR lodged by the guest-house owner, O.P. Agrawal, the murder was committed on October 27. Bhubaneswar police, after retrieving the bodies, had declared them “unidentified” and cremated them.

Swayansiddha was shown bodies exhumed 15 days after cremation. “It was impossible for him to identify the bodies after a fortnight. We pointed this out to the CID. We believe that the investigating authority is also convinced about this after interrogating Swayansiddha. Now, the turn of events has prompted police to review the matter,” claimed Tapas Bhanja, Manonit’s counsel.

In his petition, Manonit claimed his son had been falsely implicated. “The whole matter is murky. She was involved in an illicit relationship with a close relative. That man must have masterminded the disappearance, with the connivance of police in Bhubaneswar. I believe my granddaughter is still alive,” he said.

Snehasish’s father appeared convinced that the tale of murder was all made-up. “A thorough investigation can reveal the truth. So, I have sought a court order for a fresh investigation into the matter,” Manonit told Metro on Monday.

Anindita’s family has rubbished the charge. “This is nonsense. They are trying to save Snehasish, who is still absconding,” said Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee, counsel for Swayansiddha.

The advertisement seeking information about Aloknanda has earned the ire of the family’s senior counsel Joymalya Bagchi. “We have written to the DIG (CID), seeking a clarification why the department issued such an advertisement,” he said.

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