Alipurduar, Dec. 28: A 90-year-old wholesale cloth merchant was found murdered this morning in a shop where he used to sleep at night.
Following the incident, traders in the area downed shutters for the day demanding police intervention.
Like any other day, Bas Raj Pugulia, a resident of Marwary Patti near here, had dinner around 8pm and went to the shop to sleep.
Bas Raj’s house is adjacent to the cloth shop and recently his grandson Amit had taken over the business.
The merchant used to lock the doors on both sides of the shop before sleeping on a wooden bed. Today, around 9am, when Amit went to meet his grandfather, he saw both the doors were ajar and Bas Raj was still in bed.
Bas Raj had two sons and two daughters, his wife passed away around 10 years ago. Amit’s father Chhattar Singh passed away around five years back and the 34-year-old’s uncle stays in Calcutta.
One of Bas Raj’s daughters stays in Calcutta and the other in Delhi. Amit said his aunts and uncle were expected to reach Alipurduar by evening.
A police official said it was suspected that someone had struck Bas Raj on the head and stifled him with a pillow. A pair of scissors was found beside the body but there was no blood in it.
“We have brought a dog squad from Jalpaiguri for better investigation,” said Anup Jaiswal, the additional superintendent of police.
“How can any one enter the shop without breaking the doors and kill the old man?” said Amit. Sandeep Verma, the assistant secretary of Alipurduar Byabsayee Samity, said: “The incident has created panic among the traders. The police should be more active, especially at night.”