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Impersonation, trickery and intrigue in Bengal teenager’s murder

The accused called up the teenager’s father saying he was his son and persuaded him to send across Rs 13,000. Murshed Sheikh, who works as a labourer in Kerala, was easily duped because he had never seen his son.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2018 08:51 IST
Koushik Dutta
Koushik Dutta
A Bengal youth took money from a man pretending to be his son and killed the real son when he feared being exposed.(File photo)

More than three weeks after the murder of 14-year-old Arshad Sheikh baffled police and residents of Babuidanga village of Bengal’s East Burdwan district, a youth from the village was arrested on Monday for the crime and duping the victim’s father by posing as his son.

The accused, Jamal Sheikh, 24, allegedly called up the teenager’s father, Murshed Sheikh, several times saying he was the man’s son and persuaded him to send across Rs 13,000.

Murshed Sheikh, who works as a labourer in Kerala, was easily duped because he had never seen his son. His wife gave birth after walking out of the marriage and died in an accident when Arshad was a child.

Murshed Sheikh even agreed to buy Jamal Sheikh a motorcycle but insisted on meeting him. Fearing that he would be exposed, Jamal Sheikh killed Arshad, his next-door neighbor. The boy, who lived with his maternal uncle, had no knowledge of what was going on.

On December 2, Arshad, a student of class 8, went missing. His body was found the next day on a plot of farmland in Purbasthali, around 140 km to the northwest of Kolkata. The face was partially smashed.

“Initially we could not find any clue that could help us crack the crime. We suspected dispute in the family and started checking phone records of every member of the family, including the victim’s father. We found that several calls were made to him from Jamal Sheikh’s phone,” an officer of Purbasthali police station said on condition of anonymity since he is not authorized to brief the media.

When police contacted Murshed Sheikh in Kerala he said someone who identified himself as his son had called him and asked for money for his studies. Overwhelmed by the feeling of meeting his ‘son’ whom he had never seen, Murshed Sheikh sent Rs 13,000 to the imposter in two instalments.

When Jamal Sheikh started asking for more money Murshed Sheikh had a suspicion and wanted to come to the village. The call records show that Jamal Sheikh called up Murshed Sheikh even after his son had been murdered.

Jamal Sheikh was arrested on Monday. He told the police that he used to modulate his voice so that Murshed Sheikh would think that he was a teenager. He told police that he killed the boy fearing exposure.

A court in Kalna sent Jamal Sheikh to police custody on Tuesday.

“Jamal Sheikh is the main culprit. We are interrogating him to find out whether he had an accomplice”, Rajnarayan Mukherjee , additional superintendent of police (rural), East Burdwan, said.

First Published: Dec 27, 2018 08:50 IST