Four-and-a-half years after 18-year-old Kuntal Sai was kidnapped and murdered,a Howrah court on Saturday sentenced his friends Arijit Pal and Jyotirmoy Mukherjee to life imprisonment.
Manjusha Mukherjee,mother of Jyotirmoy,has also been sentenced to life imprisonment. Manjushas another son,Sampad Mukherjee,was the prime accused in the case but died under mysterious circumstances while lodged in Presidency jail.
While Pal was given two life terms,one for murder under Section 302 of the IPC and the second for criminal conspiracy under section 120B,Jyotirmoy and Manjusha were charged under Section 120B,Special Public Prosecutor Chinmoy Chowdhury said. All three were also fined Rs 10,000 each. If they failed to pay it,two years will be added to their sentences.
However,Kuntals family members seemed not satisfied. Kuntals father Abhijit Sai said,They had chopped my son 48 times. Life imprisonment is not enough punishment for them. The court should have sentenced them to death.
On July 2,2004 Sampad had asked Kuntal to visit his Dumurjala Jheelpara residence on the pretext of studying together for exam. When Kuntal reached Sampads house,he was tied and locked inside a room by their common friend Arijit and Sampads brother Jyotirmoy and mother Manjusha.
Later that evening,Arijit called up Kuntals father,Abhijit Sai,a wealthy businessman of Howrah and demanded Rs 25 lakh as ransom. According to the police investigation,Kuntals friends soon became apprehensive that Sai had recognised Arijits voice and they would be arrested.
To remove all evidence,they killed Kuntal the same night,chopped up his body into pieces with a meat chopper and threw them near Pankuria Bridge. As per the interrogation,it was Arijit who had killed and had chopped Kuntals body.
The police later arrested all of them and lodged them at the Presidency Jail,where Sampad died in November 2004. While Sampads family allleged he was murdered,police said he had contracted gastro-enteritis in prison and had died of it.
At the time of his death,Kuntal had just passed his higher secondary exams from Dasnagars St Thomas School with flying colours. He was preparing for various entrance exams to top management institutes. It was Kuntals stint with school cricket team that brought him close to Arijit and Sampad.