Calcutta, Oct. 21: As the crowds surged outside to the beat of drums, a restaurant owner in south Calcutta was being pummelled to death inside his establishment.
Biswaroop Roychowdhury died last night inside Pink Giraffe, the restaurant he had set up on 88A, Lake View Road, after being assaulted in a dispute over vacating the premises.
Police said a murder case has been initiated and a search launched for three suspects, including the landlord, Paresh Mukherjee.
Roychowdhury, 53, had in 2001 taken the spacious ground floor on rent from Mukherjee who lives on the first floor of the two-storeyed building. The landlord, according to insiders, had been repeatedly asking the Roychowdhurys to move out as the three-year-contract was over.
The tenants had demanded compensation for the damage to the false ceiling after Mukherjee refused to repair a leaking tap. The Roychowdhurys' lawyer had written to Mukherjee.
The incident at the small eatery that served Chinese and Tandoori food happened around 12.30 last night when the neighbourhood, reverberating with dhak beats, was busy soaking up the spirit of Saptami. A few customers had just stepped out while others waited to settle their bills.
'My waiters were clearing the tables when Mukherjee walked in. Since it was Saptami, my parents were inside. He first asked me to leave the place, then caught me by the collar and started beating me up. Soon after, Notan Talukdar and Kochi entered the place and joined him. One of them started beating me and another hit me hard on my nose. I lost my balance and fell on the floor,' Rajarshree, Roychowdhury's son, said.
Rajarshree said his father sprang up from his chair to stop the three from beating him up, but they would not listen.
'They pushed aside my mother Ratna, holding her by her hair, and then beat up my father. They continued with their blows till he fell,' Rajarshree, who ran the restaurant, said.
Biswaroop, who had a pilot's licence, was rushed to a Tollygunge nursing home where he was declared dead on arrival. The restaurant has been sealed.