Calcutta, June 30: The killers of Laxmi Narayan Sundaram had gained entry into her Bishop Lefroy Road flat posing as courier service deliverymen, police said today.
Three weeks after the 71-year-old widow, who lived alone, was robbed and murdered, the police have arrested five persons and reconstructed the crime.
The gang, tipped about the soft target by a youth from her neighbourhood, had knocked on Laxmi Narayan’s doors on June 7; but she had refused to let them in.
Two days later, they were successful when they turned up with a bogus packet, stuffed with old newspapers and with “Mr Sundaram” scrawled across it.
The gang entered the third-floor apartment, overpowered the woman, gagged her and tied her hands and feet. As she gasped for life, they dragged her from room to room, forcing her to open all the five almirahs, which they cleaned out.
They left her gagged and gasping in her dining room, where she died a slow death.
“The motive was theft, but the way the killers went about it was gruesome,” city detective chief Gyanwant Singh said. “Since Laxmi Narayan was left to die, there were no marks of injury on her body.”
On the evening of June 9, the widow was found lying dead in the dining room with all the almirahs in her flat ransacked and articles strewn on the floor.
Both of Laxmi Narayan’s sons live in the US and her daughter is settled in Mumbai. Husband M.R. Sundaram, a former chairman of GKW Limited, had died two years ago.
Her children told the police the gang had stolen ornaments worth Rs 3.5 lakh besides dollar notes, a Nokia cellphone, a Kodak camera and a few watches.
The police today picked up 22-year-old Sarwar Hossain alias Seru Ali from McLeod Street, Sk Jahid and Raju Wilson alias Moni from Loudon Street, Suresh Naik from Park Lane and Albert Pariyar from Alipur Road.
The camera, cellphone, watches, a white-metal necklace and some 30-odd antique coins were seized from them.
The accused told interrogators that a youth from Bishop Lefroy Road, who is yet to be arrested, had told them that Laxmi Narayan lived alone and was wealthy. They had gathered at Raju Wilson’s home in Loudon Street on June 4 and 5 to plan the murder.
The police have refused to reveal how they had zeroed in on the gang.
On the evening of the murder, however, sniffer dog Bina had led them to a construction site not far from Laxmi Narayan’s flat.
“The gang, after leaving the house, had stopped at the site for a while,” an officer said. “Then they went to Chetla where they divided up the booty before dispersing.”
The police said dacoity cell sleuths had been collecting information on each of these members for days.
Less than two months before Laxmi Narayan’s murder, on April 18, Tara Chand Banka, 68, and wife Sarda were bludgeoned to death, apparently by their servant, in a Camac Street flat where they lived by themselves.