Sushil Choudhury,the 72-year-old editor of Dainik Ganadoot,a Bengali daily published from Agartala,who was arrested on Friday in connection with a gruesome triple murder inside his office premises last month,had allegedly threatened family members of one of the three victims not to tell anything to the police in connection with the incident.
Choudhury had not only threatened Niyoti Ghosh,a prime witness and wife of Balaram Ghosh,his driver who resided on the newspaper campus,against opening her mouth,but also promised to look after her and her 13-year-old child for the rest of their life.
Revealing this,a police official investigating the case pointed out that Choudhury,who was in his residence on the first floor of the building when the murders took place on May 19,did not bother to lodge an FIR despite the fact that he was editor and owner of the newspaper and the building too. He also did not bother to provide one of his cars to take the victims to the hospital, the officer said.
Choudhury was sent to three days judicial custody by a district court in Agartala after his bail petition was rejected on Saturday. The court has directed the police to submit the case diary on June 10, Tapan Saha,assistant public prosecutor,told The Sunday Express over the telephone from Agartala.
Three persons were stabbed to death by two masked men around 2 pm in the Dainik Ganadoot office premises on May 19. The victims were manager Ranjit Choudhury,proof reader Sujit Bhattacharjee and driver Balaram Ghosh. The assailants fled on a motorbike after committing the crime,initial police reports said.
We are yet to establish that Choudhury had hatched the plot and hired professional killers to execute his plan. But he is definitely in the heart of the conspiracy. Otherwise why would he claim he had heard nothing when three persons were repeatedly stabbed in the same building where he was present? said an investigating officer.
One interesting aspect among several that the police is probing is the resignation apparently submitted by his manager Ranjit Choudhury a couple of weeks before the incident. Ranjit had apparently fallen out with Choudhury over certain business deals of the latter, the officer said.
While the motive behind the killings is yet to be established,the police have been working on a number of theories,which include his suspected involvement in land brokering,as also links to some chit fund companies.
Choudhury is a frequent visitor to the courts here in connection with various cases, said a lawyer who did not want to be named. Police are also looking into other aspects like alleged illegal land deals,smuggling and personal enmity as reasons behind the murders.
Interestingly,while Choudhury has been running his newspaper for nearly four decades now,the newspaper hardly sells. He sends me two copies every day,but nobody buys a copy, said Shyamal Bhattacharjee,a leading newspaper agent of Agartala.
The newspaper,however,gets a lot of advertisements,including those released by the state information department,DAVP,central PSUs as well as railways,Northeastern Council,and several regional PSUs. Well-connected in Delhi,thanks to a former powerful Congress MP from the region,Choudhury has also been to numerous countries across the globe as part of the press entourage of several prime ministers and presidents.
He had only recently brought out a travelogue.