JU storms past CU
Rivals clash over school shift
Nature’s fury wreaks grave injustice
Metro goes smart with model halts
Buddha nod for key Jain demands
Orissa official alleges police harassment
CRPF rescues hostages in Tripura
Army renews operations in Manipur
High turnout of Olive Ridleys on Orissa coastline
Killer duo in custody

Calcutta, April, 3: 
Jadavpur University: 10
Calcutta University: 0

A quarter of a century ago, the scores would have been different. But in the race for excellence, Jadavpur University (JU) has not only nudged past Calcutta University (CU), but left it gasping far behind.

On Saturday, the University Grants Commission officially recognised JU as one of the five best universities in the country, with the status of “an institution with the potential for excellence”.

CU, once a premier institution in the country but now riven with politics, did not even figure in the third list of the UGC’s rating of universities in the country.

“We had set up certain criteria for universities to get the status of an institution of excellence (see box),” said UGC’s deputy secretary Pankaj Mittal.

“Jadavpur qualified with four others (Jawaharlal Nehru, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad), but Calcutta was nowhere in the reckoning.” In fact, Mittal said, what had been remarkable about JU was its rise in a short span of time. “It met all the UGC criteria and sped ahead,” she said.

“We have tried to keep our university as clean as possible,” said JU vice-chancellor A.N. Bose, after the UGC’s announcement. “We have not allowed indiscipline to eat into our vitals. This is the cause of our success. It is the overall performance of the university that has been evaluated .”

In contrast, UGC sources in Calcutta pointed out, one of the “main sources of concern” about CU is the “gross politicisation of the appointment of teachers”, with Marxists taking “an undue interest in its affairs”.

Recently, the state government amended the Calcutta University Act, dropping a faculty representative from the selection committee for appointment of teachers. In effect, this handed over the entire selection process to the CPM-packed syndicate, the vice-chancellor and his representatives.

“The Calcutta University Teachers’ Association is run by the Marxists, which is why they allowed this to happen,” said a CU official. “But in JU, where a majority of the teachers are not pro-CPM, the government could not carry out such an amendment.”

The official said that everything else being equal — the vice-chancellors of both universities are known for their proximity to Alimuddin Street —- a teachers’ representative in JU can block the appointment of an under-qualified teacher, while in CU, it is the the right political connection, rather than merit, that can ensure an appointment.

An instance: Last year, a reportedly “under-qualified” teacher was appointed professor in the geology department of CU. A section of teachers protested, saying this was because of the candidate’s “leftist leanings”.

“The appointment of teachers is becoming increasingly unfair and the list is endless,” said Manas Joardar, professor of applied physics and former member of the university’s Senate and Syndicate. “Merit is no longer a criterion of any importance, leading to this university’s downfall.”

Added to this is the delay in publication of results — CU has taken more than eight months to publish results of the journalism department and a year to publish the results of the B.Ed examinations — and a growing backlog in clearing doctorate degrees.

On the flip side, UGC officials said, they were particularly impressed by JU’s timely publication of results, completion of research projects, the high placement of students in multinational companies and transparency in admission procedures. Also, in the quality of the teaching staff.

According to UGC reports, the departments that have especially come in for kudos are engineering, physics and geology in the science stream and English, comparative literature and economics in the arts stream.

“It is the extra effort that the university is taking in improving academic standards that has really stood out,” said a UGC official. “For instance, JU has tied up with the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne for a joint course on oceanography after taking it out from the geology syllabus. It is things such as these that it leading it towards its goal of excellence.”


Calcutta, April, 3: 
Before the battle of the ballot, the street skirmish. Hours after the Congress combine against the left was made official, poll rivals clashed over a disputed school building at Rajabazar on Tuesday morning. Sparks, fists and lathis flew as the police struggled to prevent the situation from spiralling out of control. Office-hour traffic in and around Rajabazar was disrupted for two hours. Police said nine political activists were injured in a lathicharge.

Around 10.30 am, trouble erupted over a three-storeyed building under construction on Hearse Street, to which the Corporation has decided to shift a madrasa from the first floor of an adjoining mosque. According to mayor Subrata Mukherjee, the Masjid authorities had requested him to shift the school, with 450 students from the nearby slums, out of the place of worship.

The Corporation authorities arrived on Tuesday morning to shift the school. But CPM and CPI supporters, led by local councillor Chanchal Ghosh, stopped them, alleging that the building could not house the school along with the computer centre for the needy on the ground floor, inaugurated by minister Manab Mukherjee recently.

“The Corporation had cleared the centre last month, and now the mayor has suddenly decided to shift the school here to gain political mileage,’’ alleged Ghosh.

Mukherjee stood his ground. “I will not be cowed down by Chanchal Ghosh’s gunda raj. He wants to build ward offices there. Under no circumstances will I allow him to take over the building,” he said.

The 500-odd CPI and CPM supporters blocked the path of the Corporation personnel and, apparently, beat up a handful of Trinamul supporters. As news spread, Trinamul borough committee chairman Prativa Mondal arrived with her supporters. When Mondal was heckled, her supporters struck back, resulting in a free-for-all. The handful of policemen at the site could do little to stop the street fight. A police contingent that arrived after half an hour was greeted with brickbats, forcing it to launch a lathicharge, clear the area and cordon it off.

Both CPI and Trinamul supporters later took to the streets, each accusing the other of “fomenting trouble”. While CPI supporters blocked Raja Dinendra Street, Trinamul activists camped at the Rajabazar crossing.

Senior Congress leader Somen Mitra arrived at the troublespot, but the mayor, who was on his way, turned back after chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee called him on his cellphone and requested him not to go to Rajabazar, as it would “add to the law-and-order problem’’.


Calcutta, April, 3: 
For years, the Lower Circular Road Cemetery had been at the mercy of vandals. But the damage they did to the graveyard is no match for what nature inflicted upon it during last Friday evening’s hailstorm. The fury of the storm razed to the ground the 11-ft-high wall along APC Road. Though efforts are being made to reconstruct the wall, right now the hallowed grounds lie vulnerable and unprotected.

To stop vandals from gaining access to the graveyard at their free will, the Armenian Church had raised the height of the wall about five years ago. Built 40 to 50 years ago, it was already eight ft high. To it, Armenian Church added another three ft. Moreover, vandals had punched huge holes in the wall, through which they dumped tyres and cables stolen from Calcutta Tramways. They burnt these inside to extract copper, in spite of the vigilance, says Ronojoy Bose, member, Christian Burial Board, which is a statutory body in charge of the upkeep of the grounds. However, like all other cemeteries, this is the property of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC). This, in spite of the presence of the armed police, guards and the watch and ward staff. But it is a 99-bigha plot and about 10,000 graves are spread all over the grounds, in which Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Haren Mukherjee, Dinabandhu Andrews and Drinkwater Bethune were interred.

A member of the technical committee of the board has already inspected the site and found that because of the faulty drainage system, water may have accumulated under the wall. Which could have weakened it. Hundreds of people relieving themselves along it made matters worse. And CMC has allowed the area just outside the wall on APC Road to be turned into parking lot, where cars are repaired. So during a burial, family members find it difficult to park the hearse and the cars of mourners. The situation is complicated by the presence of pavement-dwellers.

Certain portions of the wall still stand and there is every possibility of these collapsing on the streetchildren who play there. They have been repeatedly told to leave and the police have promised to drive them away, says Bose.

A turnkey tender is being called to check the foundation and repair the drainage system under the foundation recesses. The portions of the wall standing precariously will be demolished and the bricks reutilised. Already 5,000 bricks have disappeared.

The good news is that the burial board is holding discussions with the Agri-Horticultural Gardens to beautify the grounds. There are grave doubts whether the repair work will be over by Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Sunil Mukherjee, chairman of the burial board, says: “The board has no resources. It does not own the plot but whenever there is a crisis, it is the responsibility of the board to sort it out. If the CMC claims ownership, why doesn’t it foot the bill for repairing the wall?”


Calcutta, April 3: 
Surf and shop while waiting for the next Tube. A journey by Metro Rail now promises to hold out more attractions, with the authorities taking up an elaborate programme to modernise the railway.

The new facilities at “model” stations will include cyber cafés, shopping kiosks and computer centres, along with upgraded safety measures.

Six out of the 17 stations — Rabindra Sarobar, Kalighat, Jatin Das Park, Netaji Bhavan, Rabindra Sadan and Girish Park — are being initially developed as model stations. Esplanade, Dum Dum, Belgachhia, Central and Maidan stations will bag the tag in the next phase. However, major installations will be made at all these stations almost simultaneously.

Esplanade already has a cyber café, which opened in January. Amal Mondal, who runs the café, said: “The response is quite unexpected. Every day, at least 100 people drop in. We have to turn away customers due to lack of space. Once such cafés open at other stations, the rush can be tackled.”

Another scheme on the anvil is smart cards. These will not only entitle a passenger to journeys on the Metro, but will also enable him to shop at outlets in the Metro complex later. Smart cards are set to be introduced before the Pujas.

The safety aspect is also high on the list of priorities for the Metro authorities. Gadgets are being installed by which elevators will automatically stop in case of trouble and fire alarms will ring if there is a fire or smoke.

Seats will be reserved for the aged, adding to the existing reservations for women, children and the physically challenged.

Samir Banerjee, senior public relations officer of Metro Railway, said: “We have already brought about visible aesthetic improvements through scrubbing and polishing of platforms, putting up paintings in the tunnels and installing more murals and laying out gardens at different stations. Our aim is to make the Metro such that a commuter wants to come back for the next journey.”


Calcutta, April 3: 
With Lord Mahavira’s 2600th birth anniversary around the corner, the 25-lakh-strong Jain community in the city has decided to make its presence felt and seen. Representatives of the community met chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Monday evening with a charter of demands.

During the 30-minute meeting with the chief minister, the seven-member team, including Sundeep Bhutoria, youth wing president of the International Marwari Federation, T.C. Daga, president of Jain Sanskriti Sansad, and H.C. Kankaria, president of schools, colleges and hospitals run by the community, briefed Bhattacharjee about the various social and cultural initiatives taken by the community in and around Calcutta, before placing its four-point demand.

The Jains of Calcutta wanted April 6 to be designated ‘no meat day’ and declared a public holiday, a committee to be formed under the chief minister to oversee celebrations of the Jain guru’s birth anniversary, and a park in the city to be named after Mahavira.

The demand for ‘no meat day’ was met promptly, while that for a public holiday was turned down on the grounds that April 5 is a holiday for Muharram. But Bhattacharjee has promised to declare a restricted holiday for the Jain community on Thursday, and ensure that the state’s minority cell extends all support to the community in celebrating the occasion.

On the park issue, the chief minister asked the delegation to identify which park they wanted to be renamed and submit a detailed proposal at the earliest.

Enthused by Bhattacharjee’s support, the search for park has started, with some in the Maniktala and BBD Bag areas being shortlisted. The Jains will take on the responsibility of maintaining the park. “We are happy with the chief minister’s response to our demands. He told us about the respect he has for Lord Mahavira’s preachings, and assured all possible support to the community in Calcutta,” said Sundeep Bhutoria.


Bhubaneswar, April 3: 
A district collector in impoverished western Orissa has sought the intervention of the chief secretary, alleging police harassment and fabrication of criminal cases against him.

Bishnupad Sethi, collector of Nuapada district, in a letter to the Orissa chief secretary last month has detailed how certain members of local police, encouraged by politicians, have ganged up for vested interests. Sethi, who was assaulted by Nuapada zilla parishad president Hitesh Bagarty on September 27 last year, was recently chargesheeted by the crime branch along with the zilla parishad president in connection with the case.

The incident occurred when the collector was waiting to receive revenue minister Biswabhusan Harichandan.

A copy of the letter dated March 22, available with The Telegraph, has brought out the sordid tale of high-handedness by the police, who did not seek the mandatory permission from the state government under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code before chargesheeting a district magistrate. The crime branch has chargesheeted the collector under Sections 294, 341, 323 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, acting on the FIR filed by Bagarty.

The matter was first inquired into by the revenue divisional commissioner (southern division), Berhampur and the deputy inspector-general of human rights protection cell, Orissa.

Though both the RDC and the DIG had supported the claim of innocence of the collector, the police did not take any action against the accused.

“The investigation by the crime branch has not been fair at all. In fact, fabricated and stereotyped statements of witnesses have been relied upon while doing the same. To ascertain its veracity, this can be cross-checked with the inquiry report of the RDC (southern division), Berhampur and the DIG,’’ the letter to the chief secretary said.

Sethi said as some officials and politicians are against him for certain reasons, they have decided to get even with him through this case. “They have tried to book me under some sections of the Indian Penal Code so that the local police, who did not do their job properly, could be saved. Besides, some politicians having a nexus with contractors and middlemen, exploiting the poor people of Nuapada district for a long time would benefit from such a process culminating in my transfer from Nuapada,’’ he stated.

“I am completely shaken after going through the report and I do not think it is now worthwhile to continue in the IAS to serve in the state of Orissa, which I had joined with a grand dream,’’ he said, seeking a CBI inquiry.

Staines case

The Orissa High Court has granted more time for the speedy trial of the Staines murder case following an appeal by the CBI. The CBI had probed the murder of Australian missionary Graham Stewart Staines and his two children at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district on the night of January 27, 1999.

Earlier, the court had granted the first 10 days of every month for the trial of the case. The remaining 20 days were allotted for trial of other cases against Dara Singh, the principal accused in the Staines murder case.

The court decision was conveyed to Khurda sessions judge Mahendranath Patnaik this morning by the CBI prosecutor as soon as the trial resumed.


Agartala, April 3: 
In a daring operation, CRPF jawans of the 34th battalion based at Lalcherra camp under Chhawmanu police station of Dhalai district rescued three persons abducted on March 18.

Police sources said CRPF jawans based in Lalcherra camp had received feedback from sources that three persons were being held hostage at a secret hideout in nearby Deo reserve forest.

The hostages, contractor Rabindra Singh, school student Soumitra Sarkar and another civilian, Uttam Basak, were abducted by National Liberation Front of Tripura militants from Chhawmanu-Chhailengta Road on March 18.

On Sunday night, the CRPF jawans started out to raid the NLFT hideout and reached in the early hours yesterday after trekking across 14 km of hilly road.

As soon as the militants in the hideout caught sight of the advancing CRPF jawans, they opened fire. The jawans retaliated. Taking advantage of the exchange of gunfire, the three captives stole out of the hideout and took shelter in a nearby forest.

The militants soon fled, after which the hostages came out. The CRPF jawans brought the trio here. All the hostages were safe and CRPF inspector-general Vageesh Misra introduced them to newspersons.

He said the jawans who had carried out the daring and successful operation would be rewarded. Sources said the family members of the hostages had been preparing to pay hefty ransom.

Director-general of police Bhusan Lal Vohra, accompanied by inspector-general (intelligence) Kishore Jha and deputy inspector-general (range) A.K. Shukla paid a two-day visit to interior areas of trouble-torn Dhalai district.

Vohra also inaugurated a new police station at Manikpur under Chhawmanu police station and held a series of meetings with lower grade police and Tripura State Rifles officials posted in remote and vulnerable areas. He laid stress on securing the active and spontaneous co-operation of local people for successful counter-insurgency operations in his discussion with officials.

Assassin held: Police in Kamalpur yesterday arrested Ramananda Namashudra, prime accused in the assassination of erstwhile health minister Bimal Sinha on March 31, 1998. Ramananda, who carries a cash reward of Rs 50,000 on his head, had been absconding since the assassination.

Police received information yesterday that Ramananda had entered a house in south Manikbhandar area under Kamalpur subdivision and arrested him immediately.

Sources said Ramananda’s arrest would lead to major disclosures regarding the killing of the former health minister and his younger brother Bidyut Sinha.

Bypoll candidacy

Notwithstanding the understanding reached by the Congress and the Trinamul Congress in view of the Assembly elections in West Bengal, the parties continue to be at loggerheads over the nomination of a candidate for the byelection to the Banamalipur Assembly constituency in Agartala town, slated for May 10.

Shortly after the poll notification was issued, the Tripura unit of the Trinamul Congress announced that the party would enter the fray and field Ratan Chakraborty in view of his impressive electoral record in the constituency in the last Lok Sabha polls.

But the Congress is claiming the seat was vacated by assassinated legislator Madhusudan alias Bhola Saha for his younger brother Mahitosh Saha.

Yesterday, a meeting of the Banamalipur block Congress, attended by PCC president Birajit Sinha and leader of the Opposition Jawhar Saha, unanimously resolved that Mahitosh Saha would be the party’s nominee for the bypoll.

The meeting also decided to ask the Trinamul Congress to give up its claim to the seat. Sinha neither opposed nor supported the decision.

He said the matter would be discussed in the extended meeting of the PCC on Thursday and the decision would be conveyed to the party high command for final decision.

Sources in the Congress said the demand for Saha’s nomination had been placed before AICC general secretary Mani Shankar Aiyer who visited Tripura last month to convey AICC president Sonia Gandhi’s condolences to slain Madhusudan Saha’s mother.

However, the sources said there were differences over the issue of nomination as a section within the party wanted senior Mahila Congress leader Basana Debnath nominated as the party candidate for Banamalipur.

A senior party leader said, “We all remember Madhusudan Saha with grief and affection. But while deciding a candidate, one has to remember that an elected MLA has to perform an important role in the Assembly for which minimum political experience is required”.


Imphal, April 3: 
Security forces have resumed counter-insurgency operations in Manipur after holding fire for over a month.

The resumption of counter-insurgency operations follows the Union home ministry’s rejection of a proposal to extend the duration of the Yaoshang (Holi) ceasefire by another month.

Sources said Army and Assam Rifles personnel had apprehended eight militants since resuming operations yesterday.

Police are, however, yet to resume their offensive against militant outfits. Director-general of police D.S. Grewal told The Telegraph today that the state government was yet to issue any directive pertaining to resumption of operations.

However, he said the police force was on alert and would begin operations as soon as the state government issued an order to this effect.

Official sources said the confusion would be cleared only after chief minister Radhabinod Koijam returned to the state from New Delhi on Thursday.

The Koijam-led People’s Front government had declared a unilateral ceasefire for a month on account of the Yaoshang festival. The truce came into effect on March 1.

An all-party meeting convened by Koijam on March 27 endorsed the state government’s proposal to extend the duration of the ceasefire by another month. However, Union home minister L.K. Advani objected to the proposal.

Senior ministers in the Koijam Cabinet, however, said the final decision on the issue would be taken by the state government after the chief minister’s return from New Delhi.

Though the public’s response to the unilateral ceasefire was positive, the Union home ministry reportedly opposed the move to extend it due to the recalcitrance of some insurgent outfits.

Four major outfits — the United National Liberation Front, the Revolutionary People’s Front, the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak and the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup — had rejected the unilateral ceasefire.

Advani reportedly told Koijam that extending the duration of the ceasefire would be an exercise in futility as no major outfit had shown the desire to restore peace in Manipur.

Ex-rebels peeved

Over 100 surrendered militants have threatened to leave their rehabilitation centre in protest against the state government’s new policy of recruiting only those former rebels who pass a fitness test and have the requisite qualifications.

The surrendered militants who are now in the police barracks at Pandon in Imphal have been demanding jobs in the police force without any tests.

The state government altered its rehabilitation policy in accordance with a directive from the Union home ministry.

The surrendered militants staged a sit-in demonstration yesterday and set April 15 as the deadline for the government to fulfil their demands.


Berhampur, April 3: 
A record number of Olive Ridley turtles — an endangered species — arrived at the Rushikulya river mouth this year. The Orissa coastline is suitable for this rare species to lay eggs.

According to reports, till now nearly 2.72 lakh turtles have already laid eggs. In the next few days, another 30,000 turtles are expected to arrive.

According to wildlife NGO Operation Kachhap, the turnout may be highest this year. The organisation is engaged in studies on the turtle species and protecting them from illicit trade.

According to residents of Purunabandh village near the river mouth, the entire coastline between Purunabandh and Kantiagada is filled with turtle eggs.

The eggs have been laid so densely that it is almost impossible to walk on the beach without stepping on them. The eggs are most densely spread near the river mouth as the coast is more even there.

Wildlife experts said the first batch of turtles arrived slightly behind schedule. This had sparked apprehensions that they may have been diverted by trawlers.

However, the first batch of around a few hundred turtles hit the Ganjam coastline on February 20.

The few hundreds soon swelled into several thousands by March 10, experts said.

Usually mother turtles accompanied by males of the species land on the coast after evening. The mothers dig holes in the sand with their flappers and lay nearly 100 eggs each.

After laying the eggs, they cover the holes with sand and depart for the sea.

The eggs hatch around 45 days after they are laid. Once born, the tender offspring instinctively move towards the sea.

The total stretch in which the turtles have laid eggs is around five km long. Members of Operation Kachhap said it was difficult to maintain vigil over the entire stretch.

The NGO has recruited local youth to monitor the area so that the eggs are not damaged. Local villagers had extended all co-operation in this regard.

Villagers from Purunabandh and Kantiagada recently formed the Rushikulya Nature Club to protect the new-born turtles.

Communal tension: The year-long communal peace in the R. Udaygiri area of Gajapati district has been disrupted over the felling of a tree.

The incident took place at Kamaladiha village, 10 km from R. Udaygiri recently. The village houses 28 tribal and eight Christian families.

The two communities locked horns when the tree, located on a government land but claimed by the Christians as theirs, was cut down by miscreants for timber on Friday.

Angry Christians blamed the tribals for the incident. They even tried to track down the culprits, but were not successful.

On Saturday, one Gangadhar Raita of the Christian community informed the Ramgiri police station of the incident.

A police team was rushed to the village. The tribals, however, thought that the policemen had come to arrest them following complaints lodged by the Christians and converged to oppose the entry of the policemen into the village.

Apprehending a tribal attack, the policemen who had gone to the village for investigations, took shelter in the houses of some Christian families.

The tribals later came to know that it was Gangadhar who informed the police about the incident.

After the police left, the tribals planned to threaten Gangadhar and also attempted to attack him on March 31 night. Though Gangadhar was saved by his son Isac, the latter was critically injured. Isac has been admitted to the Paralakhemundi district hospital.

A police team, led by Gajapati deputy superintendent of police Prakash Chandra Sahu, has been trying to negotiate peace between the two communities with the help of local leaders.

Policemen have also been deployed in the village to avoid a flare-up as tension between the two communities has not subsided as yet. The Christians are angry over the attack on Gangadhar and the injury suffered by Isac. They are demanding the arrest of tribals involved in the attack.

In retaliation, the tribals are alleging that the Christians lodged a false complaint against them.

When contacted, Gajapati district police officials said they were keeping a close watch on the village and steps had been taken to prevent the situation from taking a violent turn.


Guwahati, April 3: 
Angaraj Baruah and Randeep Hazarika had a quiet smoke at the railway station, went home walking, had their dinner and then went to sleep as usual. Just a few hours ago, they had clobbered one of their friends to death and dumped his body in the Brahmaputra.

Today, the two teenagers —both convent educated, street-smart young men — revealed devious, scheming minds of cold-blooded murderers, unrepentant and least bothered about the fate that would befall them.

The duo was arrested by the city police for the March 17 abduction and subsequent murder of their friend Purnam Hazarika, a 12th standard student of the Faculty High School here. Both of them confessed to the murder.

This afternoon, they were produced before judicial magistrate V.K. Chanda who remanded them in judicial custody for the day. The magistrate asked them to “reflect whether they will give voluntary statement against themselves”.

Police said Army divers from Jorhat would soon reach the spot where the body was dumped and start searching for it.

All police stations downstream of the Brahmaputra have been alerted in case the body was carried away by the river’s strong current.

Bespectacled Angaraj, son of a police officer, is a charmer, befriending people with his suave manners and slick talk.

Talking to The Telegraph outside the courtroom, he projected himself as a man who was “more sinned against than sinning”. He cited family discord and financial hardships as the reasons behind his “greed for money”.

He blamed his “inattentive” parents for pushing him on the wrong path. “My father was placed under suspension for a long time. We had to go through hard times. We did not even have money to pay our house rent for months,” he said.

A Cotton College dropout who is fluent in English, Angaraj said he was desperate for money. When asked why he needed money, he retorted: “Everybody needs money”.

Angaraj and Randeep had planned to demand Rs 20 lakh from Purnam’s father. They had even recorded his statement saying that he was in the custody of extremists who wanted Rs 20 lakh for his release.

Angaraj, who according to the police was once a brilliant student, claimed that he did not know Purnam.

He said some of his friends, whom he refused to identify, had “told me about a tea planter’s son and that a big sum could be earned if he could be kidnapped”. Purnam’s father is the general manager of Barooah and Associates of Jorhat. Randeep, on the other hand, tried to pass on the blame to Angaraj, claiming that he had nothing to do with the murder. The police said Randeep had misled the investigating officer for several days with “false information”.

For Randeep, too, lure of easy money played a vital role in committing the crime. But he was candid enough to admit his fault. “Like everyone else I also wanted money and lots of it. When we asked Purnam if his father will give us Rs 20 lakh, he said yes”.

Though Randeep said, “It (the murder) should not have happened,” their meticulous planning betrayed their intentions. Before picking up Purnam from his hostel on the fateful night, Angaraj and Randeep had collected all that would come handy — two sacks to put the body in, ropes, a shovel and even a curtain coil in case the ropes snapped.


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