KOLKATA: The Bidhannagar city police on Saturday claimed to have cracked the Baguiati twin-murder case with the arrest of the prime accused, who had murdered a 37-year-old woman and her daughter three and a half years back, from Odisha on Friday.

The double murder on January 28, 2012 was the first big challenge for the Bidhannagar police commissionerate which was established on January 20, 2012.

Police said the accused, Rajesh Bhartiya, a distant relative of the victims, had stabbed Sangeeta Loharuk and her 11-year-old daughter Isha and later also withdrew Rs 6 lakh from the woman’s bank account before fleeing from the area.Sources said Rajesh was having an extra-marital affair with Sangeeta.

“The woman, who had been looking for a new flat, had kept the money at her savings account in the Baguiati branch of a nationalized bank. After killing the duo, Rajesh withdrew the entire money from her account with a cheque earlier signed by Sangeeta,” said police.

Bidhannagar police arrested Rajesh from a hideout near Sambalpur in Odisha on Friday and after taking a four-day transit remand, they brought him to Kolkata on Saturday and produced him in Barasat CJM court. He has been remanded in police custody for a week.

On Janury 28, 2012 the bodies of Sangeeta and her daughter, a Class V student, were found with multiple stab injuries in their 900sqft rented flat in Baguiati’s Aswininagar.

Sangeeta’s husband Arun Loharuka, a garments trader who used to stay in Rajasthan’s Jaipur for his business, was initially detained after he flew down to Kolkata the next morning.

The relatives, who had come to the city for a wedding, informed Arun 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 complaint with Baguiati police on January 28 after she and her daughter did not turn up at the wedding ceremony at a Girish Park hall.

Later, police broke open the flat and recovered the bodies from there. Both Arun and Satyanarayan were questioned at Baguiati police station.

During investigation, police had found that the murders were not the handiwork of robbers. “The gold ornaments on the victims were untouched. We felt that someone known to the family had murdered the mother and daughter. Later we came to know about the illicit relationship between the woman and her distant relative Rajesh,” a senior officer of Bidhannagar commissionerate said, adding that Rs 6 lakh was withdrawn from the woman’s bank account a day before the bodies were recovered.

Later, acting on a tip-off, a Bidhannagar police team, with the out at Khetrajpur near Sambalpur on Friday morning and arrested Rajesh. “The accused has already confessed to have committed the crime. Rajesh claimed that he murdered the woman in a fit of rage and her daughter to wipe out the only witness. He also admitted that he withdrew the money from Sangeeta’s account,” the officer said.

The operation to arrest Rajesh lasted for almost five months involving select members of the detective department, Baguiati police and top officers of the commissionerate.

According to sources, the team first tried to find if Rajesh was still in correspondence with anyone in the city. “We made a list of unsolved cases under Bidhannagar city police and found that his father – a security guard – and his sister were staying here. We took necessary permissions and mounted a technical surveillance. We then also found out that there was one number from where both were receiving calls,” said a source.

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Source: TOI-Kol