| Iqbal's mother (in orange sari) mourns with her kin on Wednesday. Picture by Pabitra Das
Five days after he was kidnapped, the body of 13-year-old Hasan Iqbal was found in the septic tank of a common toilet in a dingy alley of Tangra. The spot is very close to his house on DC Dey Road.
The body, police said, had possibly been dumped three days ago and was found in a decomposed state on Wednesday morning.
Alarmed by the stink, residents of Mir Meher Ali Lane had called in a sweeper who spotted the body inside the pit, covered with a stone slab.
Tangra police was subsequently alerted and the body was sent to NRS Medical College for post-mortem.
'It appears that the boy was murdered around 96 hours before his body was detected this morning. This is not a classic case of abduction for ransom. The boy was not picked up against his will and he was possibly kept confined in the locality. The ransom call was made to mislead police,' said Gyanwant Singh, city detective chief.
Iqbal was the fourth of five sons and daughters of Mohammed Islam, a trader dealing in fats and animal gut (required for manufacturing soaps) in Meher Ali Lane. Iqbal had arrived with his father from his ancestral home in Nawada, Bihar, barely six months ago.
Uncle Mohammad Israil said Iqbal was brought here to be given a proper education and to be treated for his epileptic fits. The boy was admitted to Talimul Quran Madarsa.
On November 11, neighbours said, the teenager was last seen around 7.30 pm, when he had stepped out of home to visit a shop close by.
Two hours later, his father received a call on the mobile phone of his nephew, Mohammad Jamal Ansari, with the abductors demanding a Rs 5-lakh ransom.
Mohammad Islam was told to turn up at a spot outside Howrah station with the money.
On receiving the complaint, Tangra police even visited the boy's Bihar home.
Two days ago, police rounded up Pappu, alias Pagla, from Seoraphuli, in Hooghly, but they didn't find enough evidence against him.
'The kidnap was carried out to settle old scores,' said Mohammad Israil.
The kidnap could have been the fall-out of a feud over the Meher Ali Lane property that houses some 22 families of tenants. Trouble started after its owner died in 2001 and his wife sold it off to a local resident, who hiked the rents.
Mohammad Islam and his brother refused to oblige. They kept making their payments to the Rent Controller, instead.