The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Victim’s last call leads police to prime suspect

Calcutta, June 12: Five days after Rekha Chandok was found murdered in her Jorabagan residence, police today arrested two persons, including the prime suspect.

“We have netted the prime suspect, Narendra Kumar Bag-ri, and his accomplice Surind- er Mali. While Bagri, who is also the deceased’s brother-in- law, was rounded up from a hideout in central Calcutta, Mali (was apprehended) from a place in the northern part of the city. A hunt is on to track down Bagri’s two other associates, also involved in the murder,” said Peeyush Pandey, deputy commissioner of police (detective department).

The accused have been booked under Sections 302 (murder), 396 (dacoity with murder) and 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery).

The duo, according to officials, had confessed during interrogation and also provided a blow-by-blow account of the murder.

Rekha, 30, had been strangled with the wire of an electric iron and her throat slit with the sharp edge of a broken glass bottle on Monday afternoon in her Haradhole Lane residence.

Locals had found her lying in a pool of blood. The electric iron and the broken bottle with bloodstains were lying near her body.

Officials said Rekha’s phone call to her husband Shibprasad had helped them track down the main culprit. When Bagri — Shibprasad’s cousin — stepped into the house on Monday with his associates, Rekha had asked them to wait for a minute and gone straight to a telephone booth to call her husband. She informed him that Bagri had come again to extort money.

“If the call had not been made, it would have been tough for us to trace the accused. In fact, on the very day of the gruesome murder, we came to know the name of the culprits,” said one of the officials.

Detective department sleuths said Mali had first hit Rekha. “Mali and the others strangled the woman with the wire and pierced the broken bottle into her throat,” recounted an officer of the homicide wing. “Bagri, who was driven out from his home for falling into bad company, told us that he was busy robbing the house when the trio committed the murder.”

The daylong interrogation of the duo revealed that Bagri, Mali and two others had not entered Rekha’s ground floor flat with an intention to kill her. “They wanted to extort money. But as Rekha refused to oblige, the accused became furious. In the melee, Mali all of a sudden pushed Rekha and gagged her so that she could not raise a hue and cry. As soon as she slumped on the floor, two others pounced on her. One of them found the electric iron kept in a corner of the room. He took its wire and strangled her,” an official said.

To make sure she was dead, one of the accused who is still absconding picked up a glass bottle, broke it and slit Rekha’s throat with its sharp end.

“The miscreants slit the victim’s throat only to make sure she was dead. They feared that she would disclose their names if she came to her senses. But the irony is that they did not know that Rekha had spoken to her husband a few minutes ago,” said an officer of the homicide department.

Detectives revealed that Mali was arrested five years ago. “He has even spent two-and-half years in jail for committing a dacoity. Bagri had also started cheating businessman and his friends recently,” one of them said.

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