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Neighbour held for brutal murder

Footage from a surveillance camera at the Dakshineswar temple entrance helped catch the alleged killer of a Howrah homemaker, missing since March 13 and whose mutilated body parts were found at five locations.

Police said Sambhu Roy, a next-door neighbour of 52-year-old Menoka Das from D Road in Liluah, was arrested on Tuesday night after the CCTV camera at the temple caught him sneaking into the premises with a plastic bag and leaving without it.

Menoka’s severed head was found on the banks of the Hooghly near the temple on March 14.

“We ran and reran the footage from the camera and saw a man enter the temple premises with a bulging plastic bag that looked like it had a spherical object inside. He left within 10 minutes without the bag,” said an officer of Liluah police station.

The man’s picture was shown to Menoka’s family and they immediately identified him as neighbour Roy, a 55-year-old sweeper with the Eastern Railway.

After the discovery of the head, a search to find the rest of the body yielded the woman’s legs in a pond in Kona two days later, the officer said. The torso was found in another pond in Howrah’s Dasnagar a few days later but her hands and abdomen were yet to be traced, the officer added.

“We have yet to trace the saw that was used to cut the body,” the officer said.

Kona is about 5km from D Road in Liluah while Dakshineswar is about 10km away.

The police arrested Roy and an associate, 35-year-old Amarendra Goswami, on Tuesday night for the brutal murder.

Roy is said to have admitted before the police that he had killed the woman after she resisted his attempt to rape her.

“He broke down during interrogation and admitted to the crime,” said Nishat Pervez, deputy commissioner (headquarters), Howrah. “We are interrogating the duo to recover the rest of the body.”

According to the police, Roy had tried to rape Menoka on March 13 when she visited his home to watch TV.

Menoka’s two daughters are married and husband Sunil runs a small business.

An officer said Roy’s wife Arati and Menoka were on good terms for several years. “She often visited the Roy household to watch TV and chat with his wife.”

Arati had gone to her paternal home at Kanchrapara in North 24-Parganas on March 13 afternoon, the day Menoka visited the Roys to watch TV. “Roy was alone and he took advantage of the situation. But Menoka resisted her neighbour’s attempt to rape her and started screaming for help. To quieten her, Roy grabbed her head by the hair and banged it against the wall and she died. Later, he sought help from Amarendra, a distant relative, to get rid of the body,” the officer said.

“Roy killed her in the afternoon, cut the body into pieces, put them in plastic bags and waited till late into the night. The pieces were dumped in several places between 12.30am to 3am.”

Menoka’s elder daughter Shukla Ghosh lodged a missing complaint with the police the next day and a few hours later she was called to identify a severed head, confirming the family’s worst fears.

The duo were produced at a court in Howrah and remanded in police custody for a week.