Beggar twist to murder tale

A woman beggar on Zakaria Street was taken ill two days before gemstone trader Mohammad Salim was murdered, prompting police to suspect the assassins had given her "poisoned" food to remove a potential witness from the scene of the crime.

By Monalisa Chaudhuri
  • Published 29.10.17
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Zakaria Street: A woman beggar on Zakaria Street was taken ill two days before gemstone trader Mohammad Salim was murdered, prompting police to suspect the assassins had given her "poisoned" food to remove a potential witness from the scene of the crime.

The elderly woman has been admitted to hospital, where investigators are talking to her.

Mohammad Ashar Firdausi, another jewellery trader on Zakaria Street, was arrested on Thursday in connection with Salim's murder.

The woman is a "permanent fixture" in the area and spends the nights right beside the mosque adjoining the bylane where Salim's store - SN Amber Jewellers - is located, a trader said.

"Had the woman been at her usual spot, she would have been the lone witness to the assassins entering the victim's store," an officer said. "She fell ill 48 hours before the murder. We suspect the assassins had a hand in providing her with poisoned food."

Salim's wife Shagufta Yasmeen told Metro on Saturday that she wanted a speedy trial in the case.

"I want justice for my husband. He was killed for no fault of his. Now that police have arrested the mastermind and have found proof against him, I want the police to expedite the investigation so that the culprits are punished as early as possible," Yasmeen said.

"I am thankful to the police... But only quick and exemplary punishment for the culprits can uphold the sanctity of the legal system."

The police suspect that apart from Mohammad Ashar Firdausi, at least three persons were were involved in the murder. Officers at Lalbazar said Firdausi had plotted the murder to lay his hands on Salim's collection of precious stones.