(Also written by Atri Mitra)
A friend and business partner of Bandhu Prakash Pal, who was found murdered with his wife and five-year-old son in West Bengal’s Jiaganj, is under the scanner of investigators probing the triple murder case.
Pal’s relatives have accused Souvik Banik, a resident of Rampurhat town in Birbhum district, of being involved in the crime. According to police sources, Banik has a history of duping people after taking money from them in the name of business investments and chain marketing systems.
Pal (40), a primary school teacher also involved in a networking-based business, his wife Beauty (30) and their son Angan (5) were found murdered at their home in Lebu Bagan, Jiaganj, on Tuesday.
Banik and several others have been detained and are being interrogated. Raids have also been conducted in areas near Rampurhat to nab the assailants, who may have been hired for the murders.
“A number of people, including Pal’s relatives, have been questioned and he (Banik) is among them. We have found that the victim not only gave cash to this person, but also money loaned against his wife’s account. This led to altercations between them. This person (Banik) has a record of duping people in the name of business investments and chain marketing. However, he is only one of the leads we are following. We will crack the case soon,” said a police officer.
Police sources said Banik and Pal were partners in various marketing chains. Pal gave Banik Rs 7 lakh borrowed from the market at high interest rate and Banik did not return it, said the sources.
Sources said Banik used to frequent Pal’s house and got his wife Beauty to open three bank accounts. Loans were taken against these accounts with Pal as guarantor and that sum too was taken by Banik, police sources said.
“Two years ago, Pal went with his family to his in-laws’, also residents of Rampurhat, and Banik was called there. He was asked to return the money and this led to an altercation,” said a police officer.
Police have also found that Banik owed money to several others, including a woman from whom he took Rs 10 lakh for investment in a drinking water plant. The woman had lodged a police complaint.
Beauty’s brother, Sakkhi Gopal Mondol, said, “I had told my brother-in-law to avoid Banik. He is a dangerous man and has connections with anti-social elements. But my brother-in-law did not listen.”
Pal’s cousin, Bandhu Krishna Ghosh, was called by police and Banik was brought face to face with him and questioned.
“Banik was the business partner and one of my brother’s closest friend. He used to take loans from the market and give money to Banik. I asked him why my brother gave him money regularly when his own financial condition was poor. Banik lied to police about the amount my brother gave him,” Ghosh said, adding, “After the murder, Banik disappeared. Why would a friend hide? We believe he is the key to all this.”