SHOOTING DEATH MYSTERY: Blockade with body to press for arrest – main suspect missing ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Aug. 6: The relatives and neighbours of the realtor who was found shot dead at a hotel yesterday blocked a busy intersection of Siliguri town this afternoon with the body demanding arrest of the culprits.
Police suspect that since Tapas Jha was in the real estate business, financial transactions could be a motive behind his murder. A team of finger print experts is expected here tomorrow.
Jha’s family members demanded that the hotel be sealed and the owner should be arrested.
“We have given to the police the names of the suspected murderers of my brother. Now, the police should intensify its investigation and arrest the culprits,” said Tapan Jha.
Dilip Rathore, a neighbour of the late businessman, expressed shock that even after 24hours of the incident, the police failed to catch the criminals. “The police have not sealed the hotel nor have they arrested a single person after a complaint was lodged,” he said.
Around 4pm, the protesters set up the blockade at Sevoke More, an intersection of Sevoke Road and Hill Cart Road, the two busy thoroughfares of the town, while returning from the North Bengal Medical College, where the post-mortem had been done. The blockade was lifted an hour later after senior police officers assured the protesters of action.
Sources said the police got a few more names besides the proprietor of the hotel during the investigation.
“Apart from Jha’s hotel owner friend, we have got a couple of names, which had been mentioned by the deceased’s family in the complaint. But the family members could not give us details about them. We are now trying to locate their whereabouts,” said a police officer.
Finger print experts from Calcutta are expected tomorrow, the officer added.
EARLIER FROM THE TELEGRAPH
Siliguri realtor found shot dead in office – Family alleges murder and points finger at business partner – murder or suicide ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Aug. 5: A real estate developer was found dead with a bullet injury on the head at his office in a hotel building owned by his business partner here today.
The family of the 42-year-old Tapan Jha ruled out suicide and alleged that he had been murdered by his business partner Gurdeep Singh.
Jha was shot through the forehead and the body was found on a sofa with blood oozing from the head. A 9mm pistol was lying next to the body, but no suicide note was found.
Sources said Jha used to come to the office on the first floor of the four-storied building everyday.
“Like any other day, he came to the office in usual manner around 10.30am today,” said Raju Sharma, the hotel manager. “However, around 12 noon, I was told by some shopkeepers (a market complex is located in a portion of the hotel building) that they had heard a suspicious noise from the office. We immediately rang up Siliguri police,” he said.
When the policemen, led by additional superintendent of police, Siliguri, Gaurav Sharma, reached the spot, the office door was open and Jha’s body was lying on a settee with blood oozing from his head.
“We suspect that he was shot at point-blank range on the forehead with a 9mm pistol, causing his death instantly. The weapon was also found next to the body,” said a police officer.
The police questioned the manager and other staff at the hotel and took away the body. The office was also sealed. The incident invited curious crowds in front of the hotel at Sevoke Road.
According to the hotel staff and relatives of the deceased, Gurdeep was Jha’s close friend and a confidante.
But ever since the incident, he could not be found at the spot nor be contacted. Jha’s wife Bharati said Gurdeep had been threatening her husband for a couple of months.
“Gurdeep called him (Jha) on his cellphone around midnight yesterday and asked for money. Today, around 8.30am, my husband left home and told me that he would return for lunch by 3pm. However, before that, we got the news that he was dead,” she said at the Siliguri District Hospital.
The couple has a five-year-old daughter, who was recently diagnosed with cancer in her right eye.
Shanti, the inconsolable mother, echoed her daughter-in-law and held Jha’s friends responsible for his death.
Jha, sources said, is known to have taken loan from his friends for personal reasons. He was also spending money for his daughter’s treatment.
Jha was a resident of Milanpally in Siliguri.
According to the sources, Jha was a lower division clerk at the district inspector of schools (secondary) office in Jalpaiguri. Since 2003, he had been under suspension for irregular attendance and had started the real estate business.
The realtor’s family has filed an FIR and Gurdeep was named in it.
D.P. Singh, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling, said they were not ruling out the possibility of either suicide or murder. “A murder case has been registered on the basis of the complaint filed by Jha’s family. The office room at the hotel has been sealed to keep the evidences intact and for further probe by fingerprint experts of the CID.”