Calcutta, Feb. 6: Twenty-five-year-old Shambhu Kumar Choudhury was shot in the head and left to die less than 150 metres from Maniktala police station after three men hijacked his Santro last night.
The killers forced the driver to travel along C.R. Avenue, through Bagbazar, Shyambazar and R.G. Kar Road to Canal West Road, where they shot Shambhu and abandoned the car.
All the way, the trio abused Shambhu, whose family is from Bihar, in Bhojpuri. But there was no reference to any deal or promised payoff, leaving police groping for a motive. The family said they had received no extortion threats.
Around 11.10 pm, Shambhu, a trader dealing in milk powder and spices, had stepped out of his Rabindra Sarani office in north Calcutta and was moving towards his Santro when the three young men appeared. They forced him into the backseat. While one got into the front seat and held a razor to driver Ujjwal Haldar’s neck, the others slid in on either side of the 25-year-old.
Shambhu pleaded with the men to let him go and collect any amount they wanted later. But they only got more agitated and started searching the car, apparently for money. According to Haldar’s statement, the men kept demanding that he hand over all the money he had. Finding only Rs 2,600, they snatched the cellphone, gold chain and ring.
When the car reached a secluded spot on Canal West Road, they pushed the driver out and shot Shambhu through the head. Then they slit his throat and left him bleeding profusely. The men got into a yellow taxi waiting under a tree and sped away.
Hearing the gunshot, local residents informed the police. Bikram Chakraborty, officer-in-charge of Maniktala police station, said the Santro was found with Shambhu lying partially out of an open door. Barely alive, he was rushed to NRS Medical College and Hospital, where he died within half-an-hour.
The bullet, fired from a sophisticated pistol, had pierced his skull and punctured a hole in the window. Haldar was standing a little way off, trembling.
Shambhu’s brother Shashi has told the police he never carried large sums of money. “We had no business rivalry and no enmity with others,” he added.