Police said they have recovered the hammer that Mohammad Sikandar and his accomplices had allegedly used to smash the heads of Pushpa Singh and her two daughters.
The hammer was recovered on Thursday from a canal near Marine House Bridge that flows into the Hooghly, said an officer of the detective department. The spot where the “weapon” was found was around 2km from the crime scene.
“The hammer is the murder weapon. Its recovery will strengthen our case against Sikandar and his accomplices,” the officer said. “The hammer was found in a blue plastic bag that also contained a rope and a chain. Four Disaster Management Group personnel retrieved the bag after aN hour-long search.”
The rope was allegedly used to tie up the bodies before they were placed in trunks and carried from the Singhs’ rented apartment in Yasin Manzil, on Ekbalpore’s Suresh Das Road, to Sikandar’s shop, around 200m away, where they were buried.
“We suspect the assassins had brought the chain to strangle Pushpa and her daughters. But it was apparently not used.”
Later in the day, a team from the detective department found a gold bangle and a pair of earrings in Pushpa’s flat, which is owned by Sikandar and where she and daughters Pradipti and Aradhana were allegedly murdered.
An officer said the “murder weapon” had been recovered while pursuing leads provided by prime accused Sikandar during interrogation.
“Sikandar told us that he had thrown the hammer into the canal in Watgunge on March 30, a day after the triple murder. We engaged Disaster Management Group personnel around 3am on Thursday to search the canal. Sikandar was with us and he showed the area where he had thrown the hammer,” the officer said.
A preliminary probe has revealed that a dispute over the Singhs’ rented apartment had triggered the triple murder. Sikandar wanted Pushpa to vacate the flat so he could rent it out to someone else against a huge selami.
Pushpa’s father Paresh Nath Singh spent around two hours at Lalbazar on Thursday afternoon. “He met some senior officers with the demand that guilty cops be punished. We have assured him that he would get justice,” said an officer.
Singh had on Tuesday handed over a complaint to deputy commissioner (port) V. Solomon Nesakumar, alleging that Ekbalpore police station had ignored the complaint he had lodged after his daughter and granddaughters went missing.
Minister Firhad Hakim, who is the local MLA, met Pushpa’s parents in the morning and assured them of all help from the administration.
“We told him that more people were involved in the murder of my daughter and granddaughters. We also apprised him of the police’s attitude to the case. He said the administration will help us in every way,” said Pushpa’s father.
A youth named Sheikh Wahid, who allegedly blackmailed Sikandar after seeing the bodies being buried in his Ekbalpore shop, was arrested on Wednesday night.
“Wahid was a witness to the interring of the bodies — from digging the floor in Sikandar’s shop to cementing it after putting the bodies in the cavity. But instead of alerting the police, he extorted Rs 5,000 from Sikandar,” said an investigator.
Wahid had been arrested earlier and has six criminal cases, including that of rioting and under the arms act, against him.