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Retired teacher found dead in manhole near Kolkata’s Chakraberia area, residents point finger at ‘realtor cartel’

A promoter cartel was eying the victim’s property, locals alleged.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
June 7, 2016 12:25:06 am

BODY OF a 60-year-old retired teacher, who used to stay alone in a rented accommodation on Bakultala Road, was recovered from an open manhole in Kolkata’s Chakraberia area Monday morning.

Sunanda Ganguly, who was found half-stuck and lying upside down in the manhole, had no injury marks on her body. But police said the body’s position was “unnatural” and suspect that she had been murdered, allegedly by real estate promoters looking to occupy the two-storeyed building in Bhabanipur where she lived on the ground floor.

Police said initial investigation led them to suspect that Ganguly’s body was “placed” in the drain. “Her body was found lying upside down. This is not something which would happen, had she accidentally slipped and drowned… Primary signs suggest it to be a case of murder. There are clear signs of struggle in the room (where she lived),” said Kolkata Police STF Joint Commissioner Vishal Garg.

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He added: “About one feet of Sunanda’s legs were outside the sewerage tank with her tongue coming out of her mouth but there was no sign of any injury on her body nor there was any sign of strangulation. We are still unsure and are waiting for the postmortem report for a confirmation. Also nothing was missing from Sunanda’s room and that created more confusion about the woman’s death.”

On whether the woman could have slipped into the open manhole, Garg said: “We are not ruling out anything… The sewerage tank is around 4 to 4.5 feet deep and the cover of the manhole was kept aside.”

Ganguly, who was running an NGO and used to give private tuitions to local boys and girls, was staying alone for the last 50 years, he added.

Locals alleged the locality had seen an upsurge in terms of real estate pricing in the last decade, leading to a number of “promoter cartels” springing up in the area. One such cartel had reportedly been eying Ganguly’s property for a long time.

“The promoters were trying to prove that she was insane. They had tried everything else. They had tried to offer her money, scare her, threaten her. But she didn’t want to vacate her apartment. The rest of the building had been sold to the promoter by the owner. She had also lodged complaints at Bhabanipur police station, but no action was taken,” said a local.

Another resident claimed that such cases were not the exception, but the norm. “The only reason the police the media are here is because someone has died. If you are old and living alone, chances are that you will be forced to sell your home to a promoter. The alternative is to be killed,” said Ramapada Dutta.

Sources said there had been other cases in the area, where harassment from promoters had led locals to approach the police. When asked, Garg said: “I have heard that some cases have been lodged…”

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