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UP cops on killers’ hunt in Salt Lake

Lucknow, Nov. 19: An Uttar Pradesh police team is in Calcutta looking for the killers of a youth, suspected to be a Salt Lake resident, whose body was found in an Agra hotel yesterday.

The staff of Hotel Rangoli, an establishment near the Taj, have given the police a photocopy of the voter ID card of 25-year-old Saurabh Banerjee, who could be the victim, the police said. But an unclear picture in the photocopy and a puzzling Salt Lake address has got them hunting for more clues on the victim’s identity.

The staff said the youth lying dead in room 108 was the one who gave the identity proof while checking in with three friends at 4.50am on November 14. The police suspect the other three to be the killers.

The photocopy mentions Saurabh’s address as “H-328/4, Salt Lake City”, but Calcutta’s satellite city does not have addresses with a single alphabet denoting a block. All blocks have two-letter labels.

Ashoke Prasad, superintendent of police, Agra, said: “We found out that the address given in the ID card is a fake…. We have already sent a team to Calcutta to investigate the case.” Agra police have not found any document on the victim to conclusively prove his identity.

Hotel manager Bachchan Singh said the four youths conversed in Bengali and said they were students. They used to leave the hotel early in the morning and return late at night. “They always seemed to be in a good mood,” the manager said. The last time the staff saw them was on the evening of November 16.

Bachchan said: “The next day we found out they had paid only the Rs 400 initial deposit during check-in. I told an employee to tell them to pay some more money but he found the room locked. The lock did not belong to the hotel.”

On November 18, the hotel called the police when an employee got a foul smell near the room door. The police said the youth was found dead on the bed, his hand tied with a nylon cord, mouth gagged with a handkerchief. The body had begun to rot, the police added.

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