SELDOM did Sabita’s expression change in the last seven years. August 22, 2016, however, happened to be a different day.
The verdict against the men — accused of killing her daughter Jigisha — had just been pronounced, and the police officer, who had investigated the case, saw something that he had not seen in the seven years since the murder in 2009.
Inspector Atul Kumar, associated with the case since the beginning, saw Sabita looking relieved, after the two of three men, accused of Jigisha’s murder, were sent to the gallows.
“Usually, she and her husband would sit and stare at the floor without talking much to each other. Today, perhaps, happens to be a rare day…,” says Kumar.
A few feet away, after a long-drawn legal battle, Sabita (58) is content with the verdict. Jagannath, her husband and Jigisha’s 75-year-old father, bears a forbearing expression.
“I was certain that these people will get death penalty. I am really happy today. Our daughter was the centre of our lives,” says Sabita.
Seeing their vulnerability and lack of emotional support, Kumar allocated policemen at the Ghosh’s house.
Absence of their only daughter forced the couple to shut themselves from the outside world.
They would sit at the extreme corners of the same room and not talk to each other. The incident did not only take Jigisha away from their lives, it also took away its meaning,” says the officer.
Both Jagannath and Sabita had hoped for nothing less but death for the killers of their daughter. The couple rarely missed the hearings in the last seven years.
“Justice for Jigisha was their only motive. Otherwise they had lost the interest of living a life without their daughter,” says Kumar.
Of feeble frame and a quiet demeanour, Jagannath chooses to listen to his wife when she says, “The judgment is not only going to be a deterrent in the case of Jigisha but for all those Jigishas who have faced a similar predicament. This will set things right.”
Though disappointed at times during the trial, the couple, who were flanked by Kumar and other officers, never lost faith.
“The mother called me up at 10 pm yesterday asking what will happen. I told her not to lose faith. And here I am today seeing her smile for the first time ever since I met her seven years ago,” says Kumar.
Mar 18, 2009: Jigisha was abducted by four men in a Santro after she was dropped by her office cab at 4 am
Mar 21: She was found dead near Surajkund in Faridabad.
Mar 25: Police nab four men for their alleged involvement in Jigisha’s murder. Cops also solve the murder case of TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan, who was shot dead on September 30, 2008 while she was returning home in her car from work
June 2009: Police file chargesheet in court
Aug 10, 2009: Court fixes August 28 for hearing arguments on charges
Dec 5, 2009: Court frames charges against three accused in the case
Apr 15, 2010: Trial begins with recording of testimony of Jigisha’s father
July 5, 2016: Court concludes hearing final arguments, reserves judgment
July 14: Court convicts three accused for abducting, robbing and murdering Jigisha
Aug 20: Court reserves the order on quantum of sentence
Aug 22: Court awards death penalty to two men and life term to another