|Prabir Dasgupta and wife Ileena in court. Pictures by Aranya Sen
In what is unfolding as a high-voltage crime drama, a senior official of the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) and his wife were arrested early on Wednesday in connection with the 'unnatural death' of his sister-in-law.
VECC official Prabir Dasgupta and his wife Ileena were produced before Aloke Chowdhury, Salt Lake sub-divisional judicial magistrate (SDJM), on Wednesday. They are to appear in court on April 25, facing murder charges under Section 320/34 of the Indian Penal Code.
On Tuesday, 40-year-old Pritha Nag was found dead at Anushakti Abasan, the residential complex for VECC employees, in Salt Lake's AF block.
Pritha, a resident of Dover Terrace, had come to stay with her sister late last month.
Police responded to a complaint lodged by the victim's driver Pradeep Mishra. He had gone to his village in Uttar Pradesh on March 26 and two days later, Pritha went to Salt Lake. On his return, Mishra tried to contact Pritha on her cell phone but failed. In his complaint, Mishra stated that Ileena called him on Tuesday afternoon and asked him to get a doctor as Pritha was ill. By the time they arrived, Pritha was dead. The doctor advised them to contact the police.
Ileena, however, claimed she was not at home when her sister died. 'Pritha was preparing for the school services examinations and I went to her Dover Terrace residence to get some documents,' Ileena told the court.
When she was on her way back, Prabir called, urging her to reach home fast as her sister had taken ill. By the time she arrived, Ileena claimed, Pritha was dead.
'I am innocent and so is my wife... My sister-in-law was a drug addict and I brought her home for treatment as she had developed some nerve problems,' shouted Prabir, in custody, trying to draw the magistrate's attention.
He later pleaded that his wife be spared as she was unwell. Ileena is Prabir's second wife, whom he married two years after his divorce.
Police found bloodstains on the pillow on which Pritha was lying, and also detected frothing at her mouth. A post-mortem is awaited.
'The body was ready for cremation when police intervened,' said Parveen Kumar, superintendent of police, North 24-Parganas.
Both sisters had appointed private security agencies to protect their property at Dover Terrace, said police.