For 15 years, the widower made little effort to hide his love for a spinster colleague. Yet, when she lay dying on a city street earlier this month, the 50-year-old man quietly made off with the six-figure sum she had been taking to her bank.
An unusual tale of deceit broke on Thursday when Arun Das was arrested by Cossipore police for robbing a dying Shikha Chakraborty, 40, whom he professed to love, of Rs 1.53 lakh. That was half the sum she had got for retiring voluntarily from Bengal Immunity Ltd.
Arun and Shikha worked at the same Wellington Square office for over 15 years and even resided close to one other, Cossipore police station officer-in-charge Anil Jana said on Thursday. They grew closer after Arun’s wife died.
With Bengal Immunity Ltd being declared sick, Shikha was asked to apply for voluntary retirement and assured a pay-off of Rs 3.06 lakh. Shikha got the amount on November 10 and, accompanied by Arun, returned home. She gave exactly half of the sum (Rs 1.53 lakh) to her widowed mother and unmarried sister, before leaving for her bank with the rest.
According to the information investigators gleaned from Arun on Thursday, it was Shikha who asked him to accompany her to the Baranagar branch of Indian Bank. Arun was walking his cycle, with Shikha by his side, when a truck knocked her down, grazed past him and damaged his cycle, before coming to a halt.
A bleeding Shikha fell on the road. Drawn by her cries, the crowd collared the driver and handed him over to Cossipore police station. According to passersby, Arun claimed he was badly hurt and took the first rickshaw home.
Shikha was admitted to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, where she died.
Two days after the mishap, Bina Chakraborty called on Cossipore police station to complain that the money her daughter Shikha had been carrying was missing.
Investigators immediately called on Arun. At the Das residence, brother Barun claimed Arun had told him that Shikha’s money had been pinched by bystanders after the accident.
Investigators, however, smelt a rat and kept interrogating Arun over the next few days. On Thursday, he finally broke down and confessed to the police that he had lost his mind when he saw “all that money”.
Officials from Cossipore police station then searched Arun’s house and recovered the entire amount and also some ornaments that Shikha had kept in his safe custody.