A 65-year-old man found dead in his Elliot Road flat on Wednesday evening was throttled to death, police said on Thursday.
Deb Kumar Mukherjee, a member of Pronam, the Calcutta police’s support system for elderly persons living alone, had responded to a routine phone call from Park Street police station around 10am on Wednesday and confirmed that he was safe and healthy.
Mukherjee was found dead by a courier deliveryman on Wednesday evening.
The post-mortem report has confirmed murder. “According to the preliminary post-mortem report, Mukherjee was killed between noon and 3pm. We have sent the blood samples and the samples taken from his nails to find out if scratch marks on his body were made by the killer or by Mukherjee himself,” said a senior officer of Park Street police station.
Officers investigating the case suspect that the killer was known to Mukherjee. “The door was not tampered with and not a single furniture had been disturbed. Even the carpet and tablemat were spotless. It looks like the killer was someone known to Mukherjee and so he had not resisted his entry,” said an officer.
Mukherjee’s neighbour, Akbar Ali, said there had been a steady stream of visitors to the victim’s flat over the past few months.
“For the past three months, there were several persons frequenting his house. He would talk with them for hours and would mostly leave the main door ajar all through the day,” said Ali, whose entire family had gone for an eye check-up from noon to 4pm on Wednesday.
Mukherjee lived alone since wife Bidisha’s death eight months ago. Neighbour said he had been suffering from depression and would allow almost anyone into his house for a chat. “We are trying to know who used to frequent his flat. We will also question his son,” said an officer.
Mukherjee’s son and his wife live in Delhi but he spoke to them over the phone often, said neighbours who had alerted them soon after the body was found.
Police have recovered Mukherjee’s cell phone, on which he had received a call from the Park Street police on the morning of his death, and are checking the call details.