The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Murder in market hub
- Woman found dead in hotel room, 'husband' and his friend missing

A young woman died a violent death in the dingy hotel room on a seedy street of central Calcutta, late on Thursday.

The murder behind New Market of Lalita Devi, 28, was not discovered till Friday afternoon.

Police then launched a hunt for two middle-aged men 'husband' Ranthir Kumar and a friend of his.

Ranthir and Lalita had furnished a Dhanbad address while checking into Hotel Atlantic, an eight-room address on the first floor of Futnani Chambers, off the Calcutta Municipal Corporation headquarters.

Police are trying to ascertain whether the address, names and other details mentioned in the hotel register were true.

Preliminary reports suggested that one of the two assailants had forced Lalita's face against the two pillows kept side by side on the bed.

The other had pinned down her arms and legs, making it impossible for her to move or struggle.

And before they attacked Lalita, the killers had turned up the television volume to drown out any sounds the victim might have uttered.

After killing her, Ranthir and his friend ' who had arrived at the hotel around 7.30 pm on Thursday ' locked the door to room no. 3 from the outside and left the hotel. That was just after 8 pm.

It was not until Friday afternoon ' when there was no response to repeated knocks on the door from hotel staff members ' that the New Market police were called in and the room opened.

'When our detectives entered the room, the television was still on, as was the ceiling fan. The body of the woman, clad in an orange sari and matching blouse was lying on the bed,' said Gyanwant Singh, deputy commissioner in charge of the detective department.

A pair of almost new slippers was found at the foot of the bed, she had fancy glass bangles on her wrists and there was a vermilion mark on her forehead.

According to the hotel, Ranthir and Lalita had first checked into room no. 6 on August 31, saying they were in Calcutta for a 'health check-up.'

The room was a small one with the windows opening on to Society cinema. The next day, the two checked out, only to return in the evening, but with a request for a different room. This time they were allotted a secluded room at the end of a small corridor.

That was where they received Ranthir's friend ' a young man in a blue shirt, carrying a helmet ' and that is where Lalita was murdered.

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