The body of a woman in her 30s was discovered inside the pump house of a government housing estate in south Calcutta early on Wednesday.
In a chilling throwback to the mysterious Maidan murder in May (Metro report in graphic), there was no clue to the identity of the victim found on Anil Roy Road, except the name Sumita tattooed on an arm.
Around 7 am, the pump operator on the morning shift, Suresh Sardar, went to the pump house, located within the estate, between two apartment blocks housing Central government employees.
Sardar spotted the body of the woman, in a blue-and-white synthetic sari, with a blue blouse and blue bangles.
There were no signs of brutality, just a small ligature mark on the left side of her throat, suggesting strangulation, and an injury at the back of her head. Blood trickled from one side of her mouth.
Lake police station initiated a murder case on the basis of a post-mortem report suggesting that the woman had been killed.
Police said the name Sumita was tattooed on one of her arms, but some residents of the area, off Purna Das Road, identified her as Ruby Das, who would occasionally drop in for tea at a nearby shop.
'But it is all too vague and mostly hearsay. No one knows for real who she was or where she lives and, at the end of the day, we still don't know her identity,' admitted deputy commissioner (detective department) Gyanwant Singh.
'It is still very mysterious. Neither has anyone come forward to identify her, nor is there a missing complaint registered anywhere,' he added.
Dinesh Dutta Burman, officer-in-charge of Lake police station, said they had been told she carried a wound on her left leg that forced her to limp at times.
Preliminary investigations suggest the body could have been dumped inside the pump house by those aware of its location. It appears the gang knew about the two entrances to the campus, and that the one on the western end, opening on to Anil Roy Road, remained open at night.
The pump house, sealed by the police later on Wednesday, is a small room with the machine centrally located and pipes at both ends. The body was placed in a small square in front of the room. A brick was found in one corner.
Police said they did not rule out the possibility of the victim being a sex worker.