Calcutta, Sept. 28: Vinod Burman was looking forward to the day he would move into the house. Instead, his body was dug out of a pit in the compound tonight.
It was the stench that first suggested something might be wrong at 23/3C Ishwar Ganguly Street, Kalighat. After complaints poured in from neighbours, police began searching the house and the area around it late this evening.
A spot halfway between the boundary wall and the ground-floor window seemed to have been freshly dug up and was teeming with maggots. Two hours of shovelling threw up the body.
It was so badly decomposed that the limbs had come apart from the trunk. A handkerchief was stuffed into the mouth. Burman was dressed in a vest and khaki shorts when he was killed.
“It appears he was murdered following a property dispute,” said deputy commissioner of police (south), N. Ramesh Babu.
Burman, 57, a resident of Tollygunge, had bought the Kalighat house in January this year.
After he went missing on Monday, his family lodged a complaint with Tollygunge police station.
Residents of the Kalighat neighbourhood said a local promoter, from the nearby Nakuleswar Bhattacharya Lane, wanted to buy the house and had begun talking to Burman.
“On Monday, the promoter was seen hanging a new set of locks on the gate; so we thought he must have already bought the house,” a resident said.
“Sometime later, Burman’s son Rajesh came looking for him. He told us his father had left their home in Tollygunge quite a while ago to come and inspect the Kalighat house.”
A worried Rajesh lodged the police complaint the same night. “Even yesterday, someone visited the house,” said a neighbour.
The stench first became apparent last night. Around 7 pm today, the neighbours decided they couldn’t stand it any longer.
“As the horrible smell kept thickening, we began to suspect that something terrible might have happened,” said Kali Naskar. “We thought the police should be informed.”
A quick survey told the team of officers that a body was buried somewhere in the neighbourhood. The detective department was informed and sleuths from the homicide section arrived soon. The digging began around 8.30 in the night and the body was lifted out around 10.30.
A large crowd stood before the house to watch it all. The heavy stench forced everyone ' onlookers, police and the labourers digging the spot ' to cover their mouth and nostrils with handkerchiefs.