|The Behala house where the four murders took place; Pachnanda (above) at the house. Pictures by Sanat Kumar Sinha
Calcutta, Sept. 6: A cable operator, his septuagenarian mother and their two maids were tonight found dead with their throats slit at their home in Behala’s Biren Roy Road.
Gouri Bhattacharya, 75, and her son Dipak were in two separate bedrooms on the first floor while the two maids were on the ground floor of the two-storey house in a residential neighbourhood. There was no sign of a scuffle.
One of the maids had been with the family for a long time. Her body was found in the kitchen, which was bolted from outside. The other maid, an ayah who looked after Gouri who found it difficult to move without help, lay in the bedroom adjoining the kitchen.
The TV sets were on in both first-floor bedrooms when the police entered the house accompanied by a few neighbours.
A physiotherapist who treated Gouri had turned up at 87/2 Biren Roy Road (East) as usual around 8.15pm. Arun Kumar Prasad found the door ajar and thought it “very unusual”. He called for Dipak, 52.
When no one responded, Prasad rang up Dipak’s cable office, from where some of his employees came over.
However, none of them apparently entered the house and called the police. “Some employees came and we rang the police. It was dark inside and we didn’t dare go in. We accompanied the police into the house,” Prasad said.
The police took some of the Bhattacharyas’ neighbours upstairs.
“The two maids lay in two different rooms on the ground floor. Their throats were slit. When we went upstairs, we found mother and son dead, too. The blood appeared to have clotted,” said a neighbour, Indranil Sanyal.
The police suspect that “professional” killers were involved in the murders because of the precision of the slits in the victims’ necks. “It was a very sharp weapon, used by expert hands,” a police officer said.
Neighbours said there was a power cut in the area between 7pm and 7.30pm but the murders may well have been committed long before.
Besides his cable business, Dipak, who was unmarried, also owned an electronics shop which, some people said, he had been running for the past 30 years. He started the cable business in the year 1992, which means he was among the first entrants into the business.
“I have been working for both the family businesses. Dipak’s elder brother Biplab died eight years ago, soon after they had bought this house and shifted from their home in the Shakherbazar area, about a kilometre away,” said Asit Pal.
City police commissioner R.K. Pachnanda and joint commissioner of police (crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh were at the murder spot till well past midnight. A police sniffer dog had been pressed into service.
“We are investigating and will take strong action,” Pachnanda said.
An officer said the murders were unlikely to have been committed by robbers for gain, for none of the cupboards in the house had been ransacked.
“Only a wardrobe was found open. It isn’t clear whether anything is missing from the house,” the officer said.
Prasad, the physio, said: “Gouri Bhattacharya had an accident and broke her ribs two months ago. She had been immobile since then. I had been treating her for a month and a half.”