BONGAON/KOLKATA: A subdivisional engineer of BSNL from Santoshpur was found brutally murdered at a jute field near Bongaon in North 24 Parganas, around 90km away from his home, on Sunday evening.
The body had its throat slit and the face was stabbed and disfigured and a return ticket for a local train from Bongaon to Sealdah was found in his pocket. Victim Asim Paul, 52, employed with the Eastern Telecom Region of BSNL at Telephone Bhavan in Dalhousie, had left his Green View Road home on Saturday morning. On Sunday evening, farmers returning home spotted his body in the field and informed officers at Gopalnagar GRP who, in turn, called the police. His body was identified late on Sunday when cops called his wife and relatives. The relatives, a nephew and an elder brother, reached Gopalnagar and identified the body while his wife Susmita went there on Monday.
Cops have started a murder case but no one was arrested till late on Monday.
Paul’s wife said on Monday that he had worked in some Bengali movies as a supporting cast and an assistant director. “On Saturday, he said he was going for a documentary shoot at Bongaon border and had left with his video camera. He had said that he would return by Sunday morning,” she said.
The family owned a house at Green View Road in Santoshpur and three flats at Santoshpur, Jadavpur and Haridevpur respectively. Paul’s ailing mother, currently admitted at KPC Hospital, used to stay at the three-storeyed house at Green View Road, which is also rented out to several students as a paying-guest accommodation.
Susmita could not name a suspect and told cops her husband did not have an enmity with anyone.
Police, however, suspect that Paul could have been abducted before being murdered. A video camera worth more than Rs 5 lakh that he was carrying was missing from the area where his body was found. “A preliminary investigation revealed that the assailants killed him elsewhere and dumped his body in the jute field beside the tracks. We are also investigating whether any property dispute could have led to the murder. We are speaking to his family members in this connection,” an investigating officer said.
According to the officer, investigation has revealed that Paul used to frequent between Kolkata and Bongaon because of some recent business he had started. A source in the North 24 Parganas police, however, said that Paul may have got involved in some illegal trade and they suspect somebody known to him may have been involved in his murder. “We are yet to get more insight into this business, but it is a fact that he had been to this part of the town several times in the past few months,” he said.
Subdivisional police officer of Bongaon division Anil Roy, who is overseeing the case, said: “We are looking into all aspects. We got some vital clues and are hopeful of getting some more important information. We hope to nab the culprits very soon and solve the mystery behind the murder.”
Paul was associated with Eastern Telecom Region, a wing of BSNL in charge of maintenance of telephone and broadband cables, and used to sit at the sixth floor of Telephone Bhavan in Dalhousie. A senior official of BSNL said that a man of Paul’s designation would have received a salary of around Rs 90,000 per month.
“He was a soft-spoken man. He had been in service for a long time and had a good reputation among colleagues,” said P K Mahapatra, the general manager (HR) of BSNL.