The double-storey building of the Bhattacharyas spread over nearly three cottahs in south Kolkatas Behala,which became the scene of four gruesome murders on Thursday evening,is surrounded by real estate sharks.
At least a dozen real estate projects are currently under way as the contractors are on a spree of buying and demolishing old houses in the locality to make way for new apartments. The house of the Bhattacharyas was also not untouched from the glare of promoters. The family had been target of the promoters for a long time as the Bhattacharyas had no legal heir,said locals.
Dipak Bhattacharya,who stayed with his ailing mother,with a cook and domestic help to take care of their daily chores,had bought the house seven years ago from one Indrani Sen,who shifted to a flat in the vicinity. Dipak got offers to sell his property as the family did not have any heir. However,Dipak,who decorated his house nicely,did not agree. There were problems with his family members,too,over these issues, said a resident of the area,who did not wish to be named.
Every plot in the area generally gets sold for Rs 15-16 lakh per cottah. A flat of 850 square feet is sold at Rs 35-38 lakh in the area. According to local residents,six to eight local youths have formed a syndicate of supplying construction material to the promoters of real estate projects in the area. The syndicate also plays the role of negotiator between the promoters and the owners of the house.
Interestingly,a real estate project currently under construction is located next to the house of the Bhattacharyas.
Police investigating the murders have zeroed in on the possibilities of murder for gain. Police sources said the gain for which the victims were killed may not be limited to gain of money or other valuables. There is some greater scopes of gain for which some people had hired professional killers to execute the murders, a senior officer said.
Joint Commissioner of Police Pallab Kanti Ghosh refused to elaborate the murder for gain theory,saying: The gain could be of various things. We are investigating the matter. However,the family did not share a good relationship with their relatives.
Police and forensic teams found locks of cupboards broken and recovered two mobile phones from the crime scene,which is being examined besides several other evidences.
We have got evidence that more than one person was present at the spot during the murder. However,the professional killer was taken to the house by a person who was familiar to the family. The person in question could be a relative or a long-time acquaintance of the Bhattacharyas who everyone trusted, said a police officer probing the incident.
The door of the house was opened for that person on Thursday. We have found traces and stains of blood in several places in the house. The culprits also tried to wash their weapons in the bathroom. We suspect that one of two helps was involved in the crime. However,the help was killed after the killers felt that she could not be trusted with keeping the secret, added the officer.
Police questioned Dipaks cousin brothers and one more domestic help of the family,Sandhya Goswami,who was supposed to join duty on Thursday after 8 pm but failed to do so. Police also questioned a local youth named Sankar Singh,who used to accompany Sandhya daily to the house. Dipak used to run a business of electronic goods and had a business of cable TV.
Ashok Bhattacharya,a cousin brother of Dipak,said they did not enjoy a good relationship with Dipak and his mother. We did not have a good relationship with them after they separated from us and bought another house, he said.
Kokhan Kar,who owns a shop next to Dipaks electronic shop in the area,said the business was set up by his brother Biplab. Dipak did not come to the shop for a couple of days. One and half months ago,the cable shop used to be handled by his mother,Gauri Bhattacharya. After she suffered from paralysis,Dipak hired a manager to look after his business. There are at least seven people working in his shops, said Kar. Biplab Bhattacharya,he said,died of kidney ailment.