Ten years ago, cab driver Sunil Karati returned a bagful of valuables worth Rs 50,000 to a forgetful passenger. On December 13, the police arrested him for allegedly strangling a 57-year-old man for Rs 45,000.
Karati's journey from honesty to crime has left even seasoned sleuths of the CID baffled.
"I was not a born criminal. Otherwise I could have easily kept the bag of the Indian Airlines officer 10 years ago without any fear ... I killed a person just for money. I am responsible for what I did," Karati told CID investigators.
Karati, son of a farmer, hails from Howrah district. He studied till class 7. For the past two years, he had been living with his second wife and two children. His wife works as a group D employee at a call centre.
His big moment came in 2001, when the IA official boarded his cab at the airport and got down, leaving a bag of cash and valuables. Karati tracked down the passenger with the help of the documents in the bag and handed it over to him.
In nine years he was a transformed man.
On March 10, 2010, Karati hid beneath the rear seat of a Tata Sumo that was passing through the Kalyani expressway. As the vehicle reached a deserted spot, he pounced on Somnath Basu, owner of a liquor store and strangled him.
Basu's body was found the next day at a place 35 km to the north of Kolkata.
On December 13, 2011, CID sleuths arrested Karati and Sukanta Das, who was the manager of the victim's shop and wanted to grab it after killing the owner.