SIX days after Tunapuna businessman Raghunath "Bull" Sooknanan was shot dead, his family was still trying to come to terms with his passing as well as deal with the latest tragedy—the destruction of Sooknanan's business place on Eastern Main Road, Tunapuna, on Thursday night.
A fire destroyed the building which stood next to the Tunapuna market. The blaze began around 8.30 p.m. and although firemen were unable to save the aging structure, which was filled with flammable items such as plastics and clothing, they managed to keep the flames from spreading to other buildings.
The building housed a total of eight business places, including a recreation club above and several small clothing stores and a food outlet.
Some of the business owners who spoke to the Express said they were told the fire started at a clothing and haberdashery store that was owned by Sooknanan.
Maureen Maharaj and her daughter, Melissa Maharaj, had a clothing store and a food outlet in the building.
Speaking to the Express yesterday, Maureen said: "Everything we had was destroyed. About $500,000 worth of clothes and equipment for the food place went up in flames. We really don't know what we are going to do now."
The Fire Service and the police said there will be an investigation into the cause of the fire, which they believe was deliberately set.
The Express also visited the Morton Street, Tunapuna, home of Sooknanan and spoke to his daughter and brother.
On the morning of September 8, Sooknanan, 50, was found dead a few metres away from his variety store.
According to police, last Saturday, Sooknanan, owner of Carmelia's Variety Store, was on his way to his business place around 5.30 a.m. when residents heard gunshots. Sooknanan was found lying on the pavement. He died at the scene.
Carmelia Sooknanan, Raghunath's daughter, said she could not understand why anyone wanted her father dead.
"He's a frank kind of person but he was the kind of man that interfered with no-one and I cannot recall any threats made against him or anything like that because he did not have trouble with anyone."
However, she said that three weeks ago he had a "falling out" with a man over a pair of slippers he sold for $50, with the man arguing he could have gotten it at another place for $30."
She said the man threatened her father but he did not report it to the police as he thought little of the threat.
Vernon Narine, Sooknanan's brother, told of rumours about their family home as well as their Arima warehouse being burnt.
Sooknanan's funeral took place at his home, following which his body was cremated at the Caroni Cremation Site.