|The Baguiati apartment where the Loharukas used to live. Picture by soumen bhattacharjee |
Calcutta, Jan. 28: A woman in her 30s and her 11-year-old daughter were today found brutally murdered in their rented apartment in Baguiati where they had moved in 10 months ago.
Sangeeta Loharuka, 37, and Class V student Isha were found with multiple stab wounds in two bedrooms of the 900sqft flat.
Sangeeta's husband Arun, a trader in Jaipur, flew down to Calcutta this morning after relatives who had come to the city for a wedding informed him that the two were missing.
The Loharukas also have a son, Ashu, who studies in a school in Jharkhand's Hazaribag and lives with his maternal grandfather.
Sangeeta's father Satyanarayan Agarwal had lodged a missing persons' diary with Baguiati police around 8.30pm last night after she did not turn up at the wedding at a Girish Park hall.
"Satyanarayan had come to Sangeeta's apartment yesterday morning but the door was locked from outside. He came again at night but the door was still locked. In between, he had called Sangeeta's cellphone several times but they went unanswered," a police officer said.
"He, however, did not suspect that Sangeeta could be inside as the door was locked from outside," the officer added. "He called up Arun in Jaipur."
Arun and Satyanarayan were being questioned at Baguiati police station till late tonight. Preliminary investigations suggest the killings were not the handiwork of robbers. "The gold ornaments on the victims were untouched. We suspect someone known to the family murdered the mother and daughter," said Rajeev Kumar, the commissioner of the newly formed Bidnannagar commissionerate.
The police are looking for a man named Rajesh Agarwal, who was introduced as a distant relative to neighbours by the Loharukas when they had rented the apartment on the first-floor of a three-storey building at Ashwininagar, about 1km to the right of VIP Road on the way to the airport.
"The landlord (Prakash Sarkar), who lives on the floor above, said Arun and Sangeeta had introduced Rajesh to him at the time of signing the agreement," an officer of Baguiati police station said.
Before shifting to the apartment at Ashwininagar, Sangeeta used to stay at Lake Town with her daughter. Police sources said they lived in Howrah before that.
Neighbours in the Baguiati apartment block who had been asked about Sangeeta and Isha by Satyanarayan, said they suspected something was wrong when they got a stench this morning. They immediately informed the police.
"We asked Satyanarayan to come to Baguiati as we wanted to break into the apartment in the presence of a family member. Sangeeta's husband came straight from the airport," another officer said.
Around 12.45pm, the police entered the apartment and found bloodstains on the floor. "Both the mother and daughter were lying on beds in the two bedrooms. Both of them were wearing salwar kameez," commissioner Kumar said. "There were bloodstains on the washbasin and inside the toilet too, suggesting that the killer had spent some time in the flat after committing the crime," the officer said.
The police are yet to recover the weapon that was used to stab the victims.
The neighbours told the police that they had heard a loud exchange of words from the flat early on Thursday. "It was around 4.30am. Since then, none of us saw the mother and daughter," said Sujata Sarkar, a neighbour.
Isha studied in a Salt Lake school. The neighbour said the two mostly kept to themselves.
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