An Ekbalpore resident pays tribute to Pushpa Singh and her two daughters on Tuesday. Picture by Amit Datta
Police on Tuesday took Mohammad Sikandar, the prime accused in the Ekbalpore triple murder, to the places from where he had allegedly procured the tools used in the killings and to bury the bodies.
The 40-year-old had allegedly masterminded the March 29 murder of Pushpa Singh, 37, and her daughters Pradipti, 14, and Aradhana, 12. The bodies were found buried under a shop, off Diamond Harbour Road, owned by Sikandar.
Pushpa and her daughters were murdered allegedly because of a dispute over the victims’ rented apartment. “Landlord Sikandar wanted to regain possession of the flat from Pushpa so he could rent it out to someone else and earn a huge amount as selami,” said an officer.
Officers of the detective department first took the accused in front of a shop, which sells building construction materials, on Suresh Das Road in Ekbalpore.
“Sikandar had bought cement, bricks, sand and stone chips on April 2 for cementing the floor after digging it up to bury the bodies of the widow and her two daughters,” said an officer. “The owner of the shop said Sikandar had bought these materials from him. He, however, claimed he didn’t know the reason for the purchase.”
The investigators said on Tuesday they were considering making the owner of the construction material shop a key witness in the case.
“Building construction materials are a vital piece of evidence and give a peek into the assassins’ mind. Cementing the floor suggests the killers tried to wipe away all traces of their involvement in the murders,” said an officer probing the case. “The shop owner’s statements, therefore, is crucial.”
Based on information provided by the shop-owner, sleuths on Tuesday tracked down two masons who had allegedly cemented the floor of Sikandar’s shop on April 2.
“The masons said they were unaware of what was lying below,” the officer said.
The next stop for the investigating team was the shop at Orphangunge Market from where Sikandar had allegedly ordered two larger-than-usual trunks to shift the bodies from the victims’ third-floor flat at Yasin Manzil on Suresh Das Road to the shop, 200 metres away, where they were finally buried.
“The shop at the Orphangunge Market was closed. We will speak to the owner in a day or two,” said the officer. Sleuths said they were looking for a piece of evidence that will prove that Sikandar had bought the two large trunks from the shop on March 26, three days before the mother and the daughters were murdered.
“A money receipt will reveal that the two trunks were purchased by Sikandar and the day they were bought,” said another police officer.
“If we can establish that the mastermind of the gruesome murders had bought the trunks to carry the bodies, it would be easy to prove that the operation was pre-planned.”
Sikandar was finally taken to a shop from where he had allegedly bought plastic sheets to wrap the three bodies before placing them inside the trunks. “The bodies were taken out of the plastic sheets before being buried,” the officer said.
The cops are yet to recover the hammer that they said was used to smash the victims’ heads. “Sikandar claimed he had thrown it away in the Hooghly near Prinsep Ghat but we are not buying it,” the officer said.