The winter chill is yet to set in, but Sonapatti, in the heart of Burrabazar, woke up to a chilling murder on Wednesday.
Krishnapada Mondal, the 41-year-old employee of a coin shop, was found dead — his hands and feet tied — inside the anteroom of the 80-sq-ft unit on Manohar Das Street, off MG Road.
Around 5.30 am, Rajesh Gupta — an employee of a nearby shop — stepped in after seeing the front door partially open, only to find Mondal’s body. He raised the alarm and Burrabazar police station was also alerted.
“Prima facie, it seems the man was first strangled and then smothered to death,” said a detective department official.
A muffler and jute ropes had been used to tie Mondal up. His head was covered with a white cloth knotted with a muffler and he had been gagged with a leucoplast strip.
Some gunny bags containing coins and around 20 gm of molten gold were recovered from the site.
“Mondal appears to have known the killers and it seems to be a murder for gain. As of now, it seems that the amount of money involved was not big, maybe around Rs 25,000,” said Ajey Ranade, deputy commissioner of police (central).
Preliminary investigations revealed that Mondal worked in the shop of Ajit Biswas, a resident of Balagarh in Hooghly. Biswas had bought the shop around two years ago and started dealing in gold bars but later switched to the coin trade.
“Coin business is big here as there is a big market for coins that are melted and then sold at a premium,” said a local trader.
Biswas had brought Mondal down from Bongaon to manage the affairs of his shop. He used to sleep in the anteroom, separated from the shop by a wooden partition, and meet clients who would come in late at night.
Police have learnt that Biswas left early on Tuesday and Mondal kept the shop open waiting for two clients, supposed to turn up late with a consignment of coins.
“Rigor mortis had set in by the time we arrived on Wednesday morning, which means he was murdered at around 2 am. Sonapatti was not deserted when the murder took place,” said an officer of Burrabazar police station.
Burrabazar police and the detective department have started a joint probe.
VICTIM: Krishnapada Mondal, employee of a coin shop
SITE: A small unit trading in coins on Manohar Das Street, off MG Road
MURDER METHOD: Strangulation and smothering; ropes, mufflers used to tie him up
MUSING: Murder for petty gain