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Girl dead in doctor house

Midnapore, April 13: A college girl was found dead today in the house of a neighbourhood doctor who had been tutoring her for the medical entrance test.

Treating the case as suspected rape followed by murder, police have arrested gynaecologist Nikhilendu Mahapatra in West Midnapore.

Another doctor, B.N. Banerjee, was taken into custody late tonight on the charge of destroying evidence. Banerjee is an anaesthetist of the subdivisional hospital where Mahapatra also works.

Twenty-year-old Dolonchampa Guchhait, a mathematics honours student who wanted to study medicine, had been going to Mahapatra’s house in Ghatal, around 120 km from Calcutta, since February.

Her sister’s husband, at whose medicine store Mahapatra, 52, runs a chamber, had introduced her to the doctor. The doctor soon became a family friend, said her father Panchanan, a schoolteacher.

“The doctor lived alone. But he was known to my son-in-law and appeared to be a gentleman,” Panchanan said. Mahapatra’s wife and daughter live 45 km away in Midnapore town.

Dolonchampa did not return home last night. “The doctor called me to say she was busy with her lessons. He asked me not to worry even if she did not return home at night. We trusted him,” the father said.

Mahapatra went to his chamber this morning and told Dolonchampa’s brother-in-law that he had given her assignments.

Around 3 pm, Mahapatra called up Panchanan to say his daughter had committed suicide. Panchanan ran to the doctor’s house, about 200 metres away, and saw his daughter hanging from a ceiling fan.

“The doctor brought her down and drove away towards the hospital with my daughter. I didn’t know what to do. I started crying and neighbours came to enquire. All of us then went to the hospital,” Panchanan said. The doctor was thrashed before he was arrested.

“We’ll finalise the charges after getting the post-mortem report, but we have found strangulation marks on her,” Shabir Hossain, the Ghatal police station officer-in-charge, said.

District police chief R. Rajsekharan, too, said it appears to be a murder case.

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