The four persons found dead in a Biren Roy Road house on Thursday night were probably murdered before lunch but police still do not know why.
The cops found the family’s lunch lying untouched on the dining table on entering the house after being alerted by Gouri and Dipak Bhattacharya’s employees and neighbours. Three cups in which tea had been served and four glasses were found in the house, suggesting the family had visitors.
“The mother and son used to have lunch between 12.30pm and 1.30pm. The assailants must have struck after lunch was cooked but before it was consumed,” said an investigator.
The bodies of the septuagenarian and her unmarried son, in his early 50s, were found in separate bedrooms on the first floor of the two-storeyed house. Their domestic help Anima Mondal and Gouri’s ayah Moyna Roy were found dead on the ground floor.
The preliminary post-mortem reports indicate that the four were killed with different weapons. Cops suspect that the women on the ground floor were killed before their employers or at the same time.
“Barring the elderly woman who had become almost immobile after an accident, the other victims tried to resist the murderers. Had they been attacked one after the other, the shouts of the first victim would have alerted the others,” said an officer of the homicide department.
Anima was about to start washing the utensils in which lunch had been cooked when she was attacked in the kitchen. There were blood marks near the door of the room in which Moyna was killed, suggesting that she had tried to come out of the room after being attacked. The police also found two bloodstained towels.
Dipak’s body was on his bed, his legs dangling. His trouser was kept folded on one side of the bed. “He used to return home around 1pm and bathe before lunch. He had probably taken off his trousers to take a bath,” said a cop.
Since the bodies were found in separate rooms, it is possible that none was aware of what was happening in the other rooms.
The police have seized two cellphones that apparently belonged to Gauri and Dipak from the house.
“We have got evidence that the killers washed their hands in a basin before leaving the house,” said joint commissioner of police (crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh.
With the family wiped out, the police are not sure whether anything has been stolen from the house.
“The Bhattacharyas used to run a cable television business. The monthly subscription used to be collected at the beginning of the month. The money used to be kept in a wooden wardrobe in Gauri’s room but we did not find any cash in the house. We also did not find any ornament except a pair of bangles on her,” said an investigator.
Suresh Sethia, the director of Siti Cable, the MSO whose signals the Bhattacharya’s business used to distribute, said the franchise was doing well.
Gouri’s husband Shyamal had started the business in 1992. “Since the death of her elder son, Gouri had been running the business herself and was quite knowledgeable about the industry. The business was registered in her name and she was the signatory,” said Sethia.
Police have learnt that the Bhattacharyas had shifted to the house after selling off a property in Sakherbazar.
“Apparently there was some friction between Gouri and her daughter Keka over the latter’s share of the property that was sold,” said a relative.
Keka, a homemaker, died last year. Her husband Buddhadeb Mukherjee is an employee of Icchapore Gun and Shell factory.
The investigators on Friday questioned Sandhya Goswami, 61, the ayah who was to take over from Moyna in the morning but did not do so citing illness.
Sandhya’s son’s friend Shankar Singh, a youth from the locality, was also questioned at Thakurpukur police station. Shankar was a frequent visitor at the Bhattacharyas’ house.