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Mafia role suspected in Patna prof's murder

The needle of suspicion in the twin murders is pointing to a criminal-politician who had been putting pressure on her to sell her sprawling house.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2006 15:49 IST

The needle of suspicion in the twin murders of Patna University professor Papiya Ghosh and her domestic help seems to be pointing to a criminal-politician who had been putting pressure on her to sell her sprawling house, said a senior police official.

History professor Dr Ghosh, 53, and her 70-year-old domestic help were found stabbed to death in her home in the city's posh Pataliputra Colony on Sunday, shocking this city of over two million people.

Two days later, no arrests have been made in the case though it appears that Ghosh was murdered by the land mafia keen to grab her property, worth about Rs15 million. She, however, had been consistently refusing to sell it.

Sources in the police said a criminal turned politician had been pressurising her to sell to land sharks eyeing the prime property. He had also apparently threatened her earlier and was involved in other properly deals in the city.

According to people close to Ghosh, she had been facing threats for the last two years. Last month, she complained to the police and sought their help after an attempt was made to abduct her while she was returning home, said a close friend of the late professor.

Her colleagues, who on Monday went on mass leave and staged a silent sit-in to demand a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation, say that the state administration had been wrongly making it out to be a robbery case.

Patna police on Monday announced a reward of Rs 50,000to anyone providing leads to the killers.

Several student organisations have also staged protests against the murders and burnt the effigy of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar blaming him for the "collapse of law and order".

Ghosh's Maruti car, a computer, an air-conditioner and some valuables were taken away from her house indicating robbery as motive behind the twin murders.

The professor, a single woman, was killed a day after she was informed by New Delhi based publishers Routledge Publication that the paperback edition of her book Partition and South Asian Diaspora would hit the market soon.

She was the daughter of UK Ghosh, an ICS officer. She is survived by three sisters—two abroad and one, Tuktuk Ghosh, who is an Indian Administrative Service officer, posted in New Delhi.

First Published: Dec 05, 2006 14:47 IST