The needle of suspicion in the Jamshedpur double murder is pointing sharply towards the senior Calcutta-based bank manager whose wife and four-year-old son were found with their throats slit inside their rented flat at a residential complex in the steel city last week.

Police have barred Shashi Prasad (45) from visiting his native village in Bihar to perform the shraddh of Manju (41) and Dweej, amid unconfirmed reports and revelations that the child was adopted by the couple and the banker often mistreated his wife of 17 years.

An investigating officer said the tea cup found by the forensic team in the first floor flat at Madhusudan Complex in Mango last Thursday, a day after the murders came to light on Wednesday evening, clearly indicated that the victims knew their assailant. Also, the single blood-stained glove in a bush near the balcony suggested cold-blooded murder.

"Prasad reached the city from Calcutta, where he works at Indian Overseas Bank, in the small hours of Thursday. We have been questioning him since and he has been changing his statements too frequently for comfort," said the officer, requesting anonymity.

According to a statement, Prasad had married Manju in 1999. "But, the couple had no children for years. The banker claimed his wife was unable to conceive; later, he said Manju was treated in Guwahati and became pregnant with Dweej; but when we brought up the DNA test issue, he retracted his earlier statements and said the child was adopted from a poor woman in the Assam capital," the officer said.

Several unpaid bills also indicate that the banker didn't take proper care of his family. "Manju's cellphone had no talk time balance. The dish TV bill wasn't paid for the past three months either. Prasad has been evading queries on family support," the officer added.

Police have also received startling tip-offs from relatives as well as residents of the complex about the way Prasad treated Manju.

"The couple did not have a happy marriage. People have even pointed out that Manju was 'treated like an animal' by her husband. She was denied monthly ration for food and had to beg or borrow. We have to grill Prasad and, despite his frantic demands to go to Bihar Sharif in Bihar for the last rites, we cannot allow him," the senior officer added.

Manju's brother Shankar Prasad, a resident of Gaya, has alleged that his brother-in-law never allowed his sister to meet her parents ever since Dweej was born. "We were not in touch with Manju because of Shashi (Prasad) for the past four years," Shankar told reporters, refusing to answer if the child was indeed adopted.

City SP Prashant Anand said they were probing the case from every angle. "We are not allowing Prasad to go to Bihar Sharif because we have to interrogate him. We expect answers to several questions soon," the SP added.

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Tea cup twist in double murder

- Police grill Mango apartment complex guards, say victims knew killer

A blood-stained glove in a bush and an empty tea cup on the table have added new dimensions to the gruesome double murder of a banker's wife and son in Jamshedpur.

A team of homicide and forensic experts from Ranchi on Thursday confirmed that Manju Prasad (41) and her four-year-old (not six as reported earlier) son Dweej were killed within the safe confines of their rented flat at Madhusudan Complex in densely populated Mango and in all likelihood by someone they knew.

The six-member team from the Forensic Science Laboratory, near Hotwar, also collected fingerprints around 11am from the first floor apartment at Krittibas Bhavan, one of the 12 five-storey towers in the residential complex, but was not forthcoming with the details.

Police have taken two security guards, Mukesh Kumar and S.N. Singh, into custody for interrogation. Mukesh was on night shift and Singh was on morning duty on Tuesday.

The bodies of the mother-son duo, who were found on a bed with their throats slit on Wednesday evening after police broke open the flat door, were sent to MGM Medical College in Dimna for post-mortem on Thursday afternoon after the forensic team collected evidence and police recorded the statement of the victim's 45-year-old husband, Shashi Prasad.

Prasad, a senior manager at the Indian Overseas Bank in Calcutta who reached the steel city in the small hours, shrieked in shock when he saw his wife and son lifeless. "I have been posted in Calcutta for over a year. We have no enemies. I don't understand who did this to my family," he sobbed.

City SP Prashant Anand, who was present during the investigations, confirmed that evidence had been collected from the flat and outside.

"The killer was perhaps an acquaintance, or even a friend, of the family. We found a tea cup on the table. Besides, the door was locked from outside. It is possible the killer had access to the flat keys. The balcony door was open. The balcony overlooks the boundary wall behind which there is a bush, where the glove was found. All this suggests cold-blooded murder," the SP said.

Police chanced upon the double murder on Wednesday after Prasad sent his former colleague Aditya, who works with the Mango branch of the bank, to check on his family because Manju wasn't taking calls since Tuesday morning. Aditya found the door locked on Wednesday evening. Knocks and calls to Manju's cellphone went unanswered. So, Aditya went to the police station. Around 8.30pm, police found the bodies.

"Clothes were still hanging out in the balcony, which suggest the woman and child were killed in the morning on Tuesday. No one had watered the flowerpots either. The cup on the table, offered to a guest, was empty. Was this guest the killer? We don't know yet. We are waiting for surveillance camera footage from the complex," SP Anand said.

The murders took place in flat E-105. Residents of E-104, Dr D.P. Sharma and his wife Geeta, said they were shocked and clueless. "We were visiting a relative in Telco on Tuesday morning and returned around 8pm. There was nothing unusual. We heard no scream," Geeta said.

Other women at the complex said Manju was quiet by nature. "She was very shy and hardly ever spoke to us, but always greeted everyone with a smile," said a resident.

Another resident said all the apartments at the complex had CCTV cameras except for Krittibas Bhavan. Thursday evening guard Dinesh Kumar added that they also had no system of recording the names of visitors to the flats.

Niraj Kumar Sinha, a friend of Prasad and an LIC agent in Mango, said he knew the banker for 10 years. "He is a nice man who had a lovely family. It is heart-rending to think what happened."

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The police on Thursday arrested Shashi Prasad (45), the senior manager, Indian Overseas Bank and also Mukesh Sharma (26) for their involvement in murder of 41-year-old woman Manju Prasad and her four-year-old son Dweej whose bodies were found in their apartment at Madhusudan Complex in Mango.

Prasad, who was posted in Kolkata had an affair with an 18-year-old girl whom he wanted to marry her, so he decided to kill his wife and four-year-old adopted son.

This is why he set two carpenters whom he gave a contract for `5 lakh to do away with his wife and son.

The police have recovered hand-gloves, one of the daggers used in the twin murder and also two shirts used by the killers. Revealing about the breakthrough, senior superintendent of police, Anoop T Mathew said that Prasad who is a resident of Biharsharif district in Bihar was not satisfied with his marital life as his wife Manju did not conceive a child despite there were married since 1999.

"As per our revelation, the couple had adopted a child in Guwahati four years ago when Prasad was posted there, the relation between the two was not good. He would pay some amount for maintenance of his wife and son who would stay at a rented house in Mango, he had developed relation with a teen-aged girl who is a cousin and stays in Gujarat. He had also made all plan for marrying the girl, but after getting rid of his wife and adopted son," said Mathew.

The senior SP, said Mukesh who is a resident of Moon City area in Mango was known to Prasad as the former had done some carpentry at his Mango residence before. Two months ago Mukesh approached Prasad and requested him for arranging a bank loan as he wanted to give his sister's marriage scheduled on December 8.

Prasad offered him to pay amount for committing the murder of his wife and son. Mukesh had teamed up with his brother-in-law, Mohan Sharma who is also a resident of the Moon City area in Mango and finalised the murder plan with Prasad during the latter's visit to Jamshedpur in November first week.

Senior SP said the two had subsequently picked up some gold and silver ornaments from the almirah about which Prasad had already tipped off so that it would look like a murder for burglary.

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