A promoter in his early 50s was abducted from near his home in Bikramgarh, a neighbourhood behind South City Mall, on Tuesday morning.
Relatives of Anup Ray, who was picked up on his way home from the local market around 7.30am, said the abductors had called the family at least four times from the realtor’s cellphone and demanded a ransom of Rs 50 lakh.
Witnesses said they saw Roy being bundled into an ash Tata Sumo — bearing the registration number of WB 26K 8800, according to a witness — that sped off towards Golf Green. The Sumo was allegedly parked from 4am.
Roy usually steps out of his home for a walk at 5am. He skipped his walk on Tuesday apparently because of a cold.
“While returning from the market, he had just entered the alley leading to his house and was barely 30m from his doorstep when a door of the car was flung open and two men dragged him in,” said Ujjwal Nandy, who witnessed the abduction from his shop.
Roy lives with wife Sangeeta and two daughters — Nikita and Sreeja — on the top floor of a three-storey apartment block he had built seven years ago. He owns another house nearby.
The relatives said Roy had called home from his cellphone around 9am, telling his wife that he would return in two-and-a-half hours.
“The second call came half an hour later. The caller demanded for Rs 50 lakh and said Roy was at Mogra Haat in South 24-Parganas. Cops had reached Roy’s home by then and sensing their presence, the caller hung up,” said Ambar Roy Chowdhury, Roy’s friend and a local CPM leader.
The third call came around 2.30pm. This time, the abductors threatened the family with dire consequences if they shared any further information with the cops. A fourth call came in the evening. Thereafter the phone was switched off.
From the cellphone tower locations, the police concluded that Roy was in Bishnupur, on the southern fringes, when he spoke to his wife. The subsequent calls came from Julpia near Thakurpukur and Langolberia near Sonarpur. “We have got some clues,” said Murli Dhar, the additional superintendent of police.
Bikramgarh has been witnessing a spurt in realty since the Anwar Shah Road mall and the adjoining housing estate came up a few years ago. “We had received many threat calls but the situation later improved. I wonder whether those days are back,” said a local realtor.