An alleged serial killer, who targeted middle-aged women when they were alone at home, has been arrested in this small town in East Burdwan district, the police said on Tuesday.
Kamaruzzaman Sarkar, a small-time trader of discarded materials, is a suspect in the killing of five women and injuring several others in East Burdwan and neighbouring Hooghly districts, the police said.
The 42-year old Sarkar, attired in trendy clothes, would enter homes during afternoon hours in the pretext of taking electricity meter readings and then pounce upon the women with a cycle chain and an iron rod, East Burdwan Superintendent of Police, Bhaskar Mukhopadhyay said that the district court has on Monday remanded Sarkar to 12 days in police custody in connection with the murder of Putul Majhi at Goara village on May 21.
The SP said that the police sought Sarkar's custody to interrogate him on his role in the other four murders, all of which were committed in the same manner.
Some women had managed to escape attacks by the diminutive man, whose modus operandi was to strangulate them with a chain and then hit them on the head to ensure death.
"Though he would escape with some valuables from the houses of his victims, theft does not seem to be the motive. Murdering the women seemed to be his main target," Mukhopadhyay said.
Police said that the accused had allegedly inserted sharp materials into the private parts of some of his victims following their death.
"We are interrogating him to understand why he targeted middle-aged women," the SP said.
Sarkar, married with three children, may have had some grudge on women of the said age bracket over some personal issue and this angle is being investigated, said a police officer.
The accused, riding a red motorbike and wearing a red helmet was arrested in Kalna on Sunday after being stopped by a civic police volunteer on suspicion.
Following the murder of Putul Majhi, the district police had distributed CCTV footage of a suspect wearing a red helmet and riding a red motorbike to all police stations.
Sarkar is suspected to have killed Pushpa Das of Anukhal area on January 27, the police said. On April 4, Rita Roy and Mamata Kishku were killed within a few hours of each other in Memari police station area of the district.
One Soni Yadav of Memari was also killed in the same manner, the police said. Swarupa Bibi of Rongpara here was one of the lucky few to have escaped his attack.
She was allegedly attacked from behind with a cycle chain, but she managed to shrug off the attacker and raise an alarm.