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Land sharks eyed murder victim’s house

Comments Off on Land sharks eyed murder victim’s house   |   November 26, 2013    08:13am   |Contributed by manoja

KOLKATA: The absence of a clear motive and strong indication that an “insider” might be involved in the murder of an elderly citizen at Deshapriya Park has sent neighbours of this upscale locality in shock.

What adds to their anxiety is that Ranajit Chatterjee was being pursued by local promoters for the last two years to sell off his ancestral property worth crores now.

Chatterjee refused. Police say his daughter cannot recall if he was ever threatened for this, but they will investigate this angle. “After what transpired at Short Street, we can hardly take a chance,” said a senior officer.

Local residents – including actor Biplab Chatterjee – say the “profile” of their area changed a couple of years ago. “The construction boom caught on and promoters set up shop across the city. Our locality was no different. Now, lawlessness has come to such a level that bikers take over the entire area after 8.30 pm,” said Biplab.

A family friend of the Chatterjees said the promoters made their first move when highrises were beginning to come up in the area. Chatterjee told them that it was his ancestral property and he could not sell it because there were other claimants. But the realtors were not deterred.

Another resident, Ananda Maitra, blamed lax policing. “Three months ago, robbers raided a building adjacent to the Chatterjees’. No one has been arrested so far. Less than a year ago, Chatterjee’s trusted driver Bishu was beaten up when he protested against the harassment of girls of a local school by outsiders,” said Maitra.

Chatterjee was not covered in Kolkata Police’s Pronam project for the elderly.

Bengal has seen a steep rise in crimes against the elderly. Data from National Crime Records Bureau says that murder of elderly citizens shot up from 198 in 2011 to 320 in 2012, the bulk of it in Kolkata and the adjoining Howrah, South and North 24-Parganas.

Another intriguing fact is that while a majority of the victims (149) were women in 2011, the next year 263 men were murdered.

Recent instances suggest the crimes are not specific to traditional areas of the elderly, like Salt Lake. In July 2011, robbers murdered 93-year-old Shanta Bhattacharya in her Ultadanga apartment. Ironically, she had refused to move to a bigger house in central Kolkata because she felt safe in the housing complex.

“The lack of para culture in new residential areas makes it all the more difficult for aged people like me to seek aid from neighbours. Even if I scream for help, I doubt if anyone will come forward. Every senior citizen living alone is vulnerable,” said Sanghamitra Chatterjee an Ekdalia resident.


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