|People gather outside the Rasulgarh house where the murder took place. Telegraph picture
Bhubaneswar, Sept. 11: A 53-year-old entrepreneur was murdered in her Sabar Sahi home at Rasulgarh this afternoon.
The victim, Bachan Sudha Pattanayak, was alone in her three-storey bungalow when the goons struck around 12.45pm.
She was rushed to Capital Hospital but declared brought dead by the doctors. Sources said the attack on her was so brutal that the neck had virtually been severed from the body. There were also injuries on the face and head.
Though the exact cause of the murder is yet to be ascertained, police said prima facie evidence suggested that robbery was the reason behind the crime. Her gold necklace and finger ring were found missing. The cops arrived at the spot after being informed by neighbours, who heard the cries of the victim when she was being attacked. No one, however, came to her rescue.
The incident took place when Bachan was alone on the first floor of the house. The two other floors are unoccupied. Her husband, Manu Charan Pattanayak, 58, who runs a finance, automobile and infrastructure businesses along with Bachan, was at his office in Bomikhal when the criminals barged into the house.
Sources said the couple held key positions in four companies — Madhukan Agro and Automobile Private Limited, Madhukan Finance Private Limited, Aavaas Integrated Logistics Private Limited and Aavaas Housing Development and Infrastructure Private Limited — which they ran as a family enterprise.
While Manu was the director of all the four companies, Bachan was managing director of Aavaas Integrated Logistics Private Limited and director in the three other companies.
Police suspect the involvement of the security guard, as he was not present in his cabin when the police arrived at the spot. The cops have held the guard and are interrogating him. “Two security guards hired from a private agency worked for the couple in two shifts. The guard who was supposed to be on duty was not there,” said a senior cop.
While the elder son of the couple lives with his wife in Forest Park, their daughter works with a bank in Hong Kong. The maid who works for them was on leave.
The police said Bachan appeared to have put up a fight before being killed by the attackers, who were carrying sharp weapons.
“Bloodstains were found in three rooms, including the dining hall. Her necklace and gold rings are missing and some of the cupboards have been ransacked. This suggests that robbery was the reason behind the murder,” said a police officer.
A neighbour of the couple said Bachan and her husband were not very friendly with the neighbours. “They had little interaction with us. We informed the police after hearing her screams,” he said. The police later seized a bag containing a bloodstained shirt, a mobile phone and a purse, which probably belonged to Bachan, from a drain near the house.
Manu, a native of Balasore, has been living in Bhubaneswar for more than 30 years. He ruled out the possibility of enmity behind the murder. “We don’t have any enemies. She had spoken to both her son and daughter this afternoon before the incident took place,” said Manu.
Later, the police found that the security agency from which the couple had hired the guards was operating without a valid licence. “We are also trying to find out if the couple had any business rivalry or other dispute which might have led to the murder,” said deputy commissioner of police Nitinjeet Singh.
• June 3: Retired army doctor Somnath Parida allegedly kills wife Ushashree and chops up her body into hundreds of pieces at his home in Nayapalli
• Feb 18: Balaram Sahu, former assistant general manager of a bank who was living alone, murdered at his home in Kalinga Nagar
• Sept 14, 2011: Elderly couple Jyotsnadebi Panigrahy and Kunjabihari Panigrahi murdered in Acharya Vihar
• July 27, 2010: Doctor Brahmananda Panda, owner of nursing home, killed at his home near Sriya Complex