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Solitary widow killed

Calcutta, June 9: A 60-year-old woman who lived alone in her central Calcutta flat was found dead in her dining room this evening, hands and feet tied and strangulation marks on her neck.

The murder of Laxmi Sundaram at the five-storey Paul Mansion, 6 Bishop Lefroy Road, is the latest in a series of killings of elderly people in their flats.

It was the building’s liftman, Hazari Haldar, who spotted the body as he entered the third-floor apartment on finding the door open and no one responding to his knocks, police said.

Haldar was being interrogated late into the night. He has been living with wife Dipali ' whom the murdered woman had hired as a maid on June 2 ' in the servants’ quarters on the premises for 15 years. Police, however, said Dipali only worked in the mornings and was not in the flat at the time of the murder.

The house had been ransacked but police are yet to find out what was stolen. They have, however, searched the Haldars’ room.

Police sniffer dog Bina created a momentary stir by apparently picking up a scent and leading the police to a building under construction near the AJC Bose Road-Sarat Bose Road crossing. Then it seemed to lose the trail.

Laxmi Sundaram had moved to the flat from New Alipore after the death of her husband, M.R. Sundaram, seven years ago. One of her sons, Dilip, lives in Detroit and the other, Rajkumar, in Washington. Her daughter is settled in Mumbai.

Incidentally, Rajkumar is in Delhi and is headed for Calcutta, a family friend said.

The old building houses mostly flats but has an office on the ground floor. The security is lax and people can walk in and out without attracting notice.

Less than two months ago, on April 18, Tara Chand Banka, 68, and wife Sarda were bludgeoned to death, apparently by their servant, in a Camac Street flat where they lived by themselves.

It was again a domestic help who smashed 71-year-old Lalita Devi Goenka’s head in August last year at Alipore. Sushila Samsukha, in her late 60s, and daughter Pragati, too, were murdered by a servant in their Deshapriya Park flat in June 2002.

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