The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Caretaker murder has police on high alert

Having detained three persons in connection with the murder of a caretaker of an under-construction house in Salt Lake’s EE block on Friday night, police have decided to step up vigil at all half-finished sites in the township. Reports on such buildings in all three police station areas of Salt Lake are also underway.

Sheikh Niyaz, Kalu Sheikh and Lutful were detained on Sunday night in connection with the murder of Bikash Karmakar, said additional superintendent of police (Salt Lake) Ajay Nand. “The three used to work as masons in an adjacent building,” Nand added.

On Friday night, Karmakar was shot dead in his home by a group of miscreants, who had wanted to abduct his pregnant wife, Tumpa. After gunning down Karmakar, the men repeatedly stabbed Tumpa when she started screaming. Tumpa is still in a critical condition at Nilratan Sirkar Medical College and Hospital.

Preliminary investigations suggest that the criminals were known to Karmakar. They wanted to use a portion of the house under construction and had allegedly asked him for space, which demand he turned down. They then started taunting and disturbing Tumpa.

During interrogation on Monday, the three rounded up by the Bidhannagar (East) police station officers claimed that they had not heard anything on the night the incident occurred. “This statement does not seem to be correct, as they were present in the building, just three feet from the spot,” an officer said.

“These under-construction houses have become a problem for us and we are planning to step up our vigil,” said Nand.

The onus also lay with house-owners, said police. “As owners of houses under construction do not visit the sites regularly, they can’t say for sure if any criminal has taken refuge there,” an officer said. “We are coordinating with the block committees and have deputed officers, but people must come forward and cooperate with the police by providing information,” he stressed.

Petty theft, cases of snatching and drug-related crimes are on the rise in the township. “Small criminals take shelter at these construction sites, as they find it easy to strike a friendship with the labourers,” an official explained.

However, the police are planning to monitor such sites in a methodical way. “Comprehensive reports on such construction sites are being drawn up,” a source said. These reports would be compiled centrally and sent to the higher authorities.

The police, however, emphasised that they would not require any help from Bidhannagar Municipality in this regard. “We are monitoring the areas ourselves and don’t need any help,” a senior official said.

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