Four get life term in West Bengal rob-rape-murder caseMarch 31st, 2009 - 6:14 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, March 31 (IANS) A West Bengal court Tuesday sentenced four men to life imprisonment in a bizarre rob-rape-murder case that took place in Nadia district six years ago.
The additional chief judicial magistrate of Ranaghat fast-track first court, Bodhiswar Mohanty, pronounced the sentence on the four convicted - Chimu Sardar, Kurban Ali Mandal, Lodhai Sardar and Pute Sardar - on the charges of murder and robbery.
Lodhai was handed out an additional 10-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs.1,000 for rape. If the fine was not paid, he will have to serve six months more in prison.
Besides the life sentence, Pute was given one-year imprisonment and fined Rs.1,000 for molestation. He will have to serve an additional one month in prison if the fine was not paid.
All the sentences will run concurrently.
The court Monday acquitted two Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Nadia district zonal committee members Saidul Islam Karigar, Subol Bagchi and 15 others from the case.
According to the police, a group of about 50 armed men stopped two buses carrying marriage parties at midnight of Feb 5, 2003, near Dhantala area.
One of the buses was heading towards Ayeshmali from Dhantala’s Purba Naupara. One of the attackers shot its driver Samir Ghosh alias Banka.
They snatched gold and silver jewelleries, wrist watches and personal belongings from the passengers. The male members, who were sitting inside, were asked to sit on the roof of the bus and the goons reportedly molested and raped the women.
The rob-rape episode went on for more than four hours. Later, the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) probe revealed that two women were raped and at least seven others were molested by the miscreants that night.
On March 19, 2003, CID arrested the prime accused, Chimu, from Amdanga in North 24-Parganas. He, however, escaped from custody and was again caught April 1 from one of his hideouts in North 24-Parganas’ Maslandapur locality.
The state investigative agency made another crucial breakthrough after getting hold of Kurban on Feb 26, 2004.
The murder of Chandan Sen, a surgeon at Ranaghat sub-divisional hospital, created another controversy in the case after it was claimed that he conducted medical tests on some of the rape victims.
Subsequently, both Subol Bagchi and Saidul Islam Karigar were arrested.
Though Bagchi secured his release on bail, Karigar remained behind bars all these years along with 17 others.
During the course of the trial, 141 witnesses appeared before the court.