His brazen style of doling out death, often without any obvious motive, had confused the police. But when they stitched together the accounts of witnesses, the ruthlessness of Dukhia — born an orphan, he has no other name — stunned the police.
Always keeping a step ahead of the police, 28-year-old Dukhia, according to records, has killed 10 persons in the past two years and managed to get away with it.
But, Dukhia was 11th time unlucky. What gave him away was his brazen style of operating. He had warned a businessman that he would come to kill him. That led to a tip-off to the police.
Late on Monday, Dukhia and an associate landed up at a Lake Town businessman’s house, armed to kill. He had demanded some money from the businessman, which had been refused.
For once, the police were waiting for him. When he emerged from his Maruti, which was tailed by two police cars, Dukhia was quickly surrounded and forced to surrender.
The killer’s initial reaction was to make a dash for it. But better sense prevailed when he found he was outnumbered. His accomplice fled in the car. A search is on for him, but till late on Tuesday, he remained untraced.
“Dukhia was on our most-wanted list,” said additional superintendent of police, North 24-Parganas, Ajay Nand, after the arrest. “With 10 murders to his name, he was one of the most dangerous and dreaded criminals in Salt Lake and Lake Town. In fact, in all of Calcutta.”
Citing instances of Dukhia’s trigger-happy ways, the police said he had recently killed a businessman despite having received money from him. The amount, apparently, had not satisfied the killer.
“He first took the money and then killed the businessman, saying that the amount was not enough,” Nand said.
“Killing is his passion,” said inspector-general, South Bengal, N.R. Das. “He does not hesitate to pull the trigger on his victims. Indeed, he enjoys it.”
Police said that Dukhia conducted his “business” of extortion on the cellphone and changed his prepaid card often to avoid detection. He would still be scot-free, officials said, had not the Lake Town businessman tipped off the cops.
All Dukhia’s killings had taken place in the Lake Town, Salt Lake, Barrackpore and Dum Dum belt. And not all his victims were businessmen. “Business rivals” and other criminals have fallen to his bullets too.
“He always shot his victims dead with an improvised revolver,” Das said. “He carried no other arms.” There was, though, the one exception: Dukhia once pushed a rival in front of a train and watched him being crushed to death, Nand said.