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Rape charge on rape case judge

Ranaghat, June 11: An additional sessions judge of the fast-track court in Ranaghat who is hearing in-camera the sensational Dhantola loot-and-rape case was today accused of rape.

A woman, a resident of Gangnapur in Nadia, about 70 km from Calcutta, lodged an FIR at Ranaghat police station against Shyamal Sengupta, saying the judge raped her at her residence last Sunday.

District police superintendent Benoy Chakraborty acknowledged that a case had been filed against Sengupta. He said police would have to obtain permission from Calcutta High Court to arrest the judge if preliminary investigation indicated that he was guilty.

“The woman has been sent for a medical test at Ranaghat hospital that will be monitored by a sitting judge of the district court. After the medical examination and preliminary investigations are over and if we get the high court’s nod, we can arrest Sengupta,” Chakraborty said.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said in Calcutta the government has informed the high court of the matter. “I cannot say anything now. Steps will be taken after we hear from the high court,” he said.

Sengupta was tight-lipped. District judge Raghu Roy said: “I will not make any comment about the incident to the media.”

The news has sent shockwaves across Nadia, particularly because Sengupta was hearing the Dhantola case.

Last February, a group of miscreants waylaid at Dhantola two buses returning from a marriage party and allegedly murdered the driver, raped the women and looted their belongings. A CPM zonal committee member was arrested for his alleged involvement in the crime.

The woman said in her complaint Sengupta had come to her house at Gangnapur to offer help in her legal battle against her husband Chandan, a CISF jawan posted in Assam. Chandan had deserted her about two years ago and she had filed two cases in the Ranaghat court against him.

About eight months ago she won maintenance from her husband. Another case in which she is claiming the ornaments gifted to her during her wedding is being heard by Sengupta.

The woman, mother of a one-year-old son, said Sengupta came to her house where she lived with her widowed mother and grandfather. When the judge arrived, her mother went out to buy some sweets, leaving her daughter alone with Sengupta.

“As soon as my mother went out, the judge moved closer to me. When I protested, he closed the door, forced me on the bed and brutally raped me. To stop me from screaming, he stuffed cloth into my mouth,” she said.

Asked why her daughter did not complain earlier, the alleged victim’s mother said they chose to remain silent to avoid publicity. “But my daughter later thought she would not keep mum and would expose the judge,” said Manju.

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