It took the city police 10 days to crack the mystery murder at Hotel Penguin, off Central Avenue. Key to the mystery were two conmen, one with two “antique” coins — both fakes — and the other with “a single, crisp million-dollar note” — also forged. They met, operated together for a while, and then decided to rob each other. Nanda Das, owner of the million-dollar note — actually a colour photocopy of the picture of one — died at the hands of “friend” Bapi Mukherjee.
Das, who had checked into the hotel as Suman Bihari, along with Motilal Shaw, alias Mukherjee, was found dead on February 8. Someone had laced his tea with sedatives and then choked him with a pillow.
Piecing together a few clues, police began to reconstruct the crime. First they cracked the real identity of Shaw. He was none other than Bapi Mukherjee of Jagatdal, a small-time crook. He was picked up from his in-laws’ house in Jagatdal, where he had been hiding. Mukherjee, 36, told the cops how he killed Das for the million-dollar bill. He fled the hotel when he found it was a fake.