The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Couple murdered, hunt for motive & managers

Manteswar (Burdwan), April 3: Mystery shrouds the murder of a well-to-do, elderly childless couple, who was found gagged with sand and strangled to death, on their farm in Kusumgram village near here.

Dhruba Chaitra Rej, 64, and Chhabirani Rej, 55, owned a farm and a dairy. Chhabirani was a popular teacher of history at the Sati Krishnamani Girls High School here. Police are yet to fathom a motive but are on the lookout for two farm managers, who are absconding.

Police claimed that cash and valuables were found intact in the house, but a .38-bore revolver and a licensed firearm owned by Dhruba were missing. Investigators found the couple’s dinner lying untouched in one of the rooms.

An employee Shantiranjan Das found the two bodies when he arrived early in the morning as always to tend to the cattle. “Like every morning, I went to the cow shed to feed the animals at 6 am. I called out to kakima and when no one responded, I entered the shed and saw the lights on in the room where the two managers, Farookh and Chhotu Khan, used to spend the night. There I saw kakababu lying on the floor with his hands and legs tied with a thick rope,” he said.

Das rushed out in panic and raised an alarm. Villagers trooped in and found Chhabirani’s body, similarly tied, in the shed. Both had been gagged by stuffing sand in their mouths and then strangled.

After initial investigations, police said it seems that like every evening, Dhruba went to the cow shed, which also housed the family’s ancestral deity, as his wife waited in the house across the courtyard with dinner. “Chhabirani, it appears, went to look for him as he was not returning from his prayers and was also killed,” said an officer at the spot.

“We think the murders are a handiwork of the two missing managers, who came from Malda. My cousin always warned me not to mess with those two as they seemed dangerous. They worked in the farm during the monsoons and returned to Malda. They came back about five days ago,” said Debesnath Rej, Dhruba’s cousin. He said Dhruba’s elder brother in Calcutta and younger sibling, who stays in Germany, have been informed.

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