Calcutta, March 4: Calcutta High Court today upheld a trial court verdict, awarding, for the first time in its 135-year history, simultaneous capital sentences to three men and sentencing a woman ' all related ' to life imprisonment in connection with a murder that shook up the city in 1994.
'We are fully in agreement with the verdict of the trial court,' said the division bench of Justice Aloke Kumar Basu and Pranab Kumar De. 'Our society has not experienced a more bestial crime in recent times,' the justices said.
Alokenath Dutta, Mrinal Dutta and Shibshankar Roy were awarded the death penalty and Mamata, Alokenath's wife, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Mrinal is Mamata's brother while Shibshankar is married to their sister.
On the night of January 22, 1994, Alokenath, a former Calcutta police constable, strangled his 43-year-old younger brother Biswanath, a former bank employee, during an argument over property.
The incident took place in one of the bedrooms in the family's three-storeyed ancestral house in Beadon Street in North Calcutta.
According to a reconstruction, Alokenath and the others had fixed the sale of the house to a businessman, but Biswanath was not agreeing to it. The two elder brothers, Amar and Samar, were in the dark.
Alokenath and his accomplices decided to kill Biswanath once they realised he would not cooperate.
The body was concealed in a built-in cupboard in one of the bedroom walls that Alokenath had closed up with bricks and mortar. The bedroom was turned into a kitchen, a platform constructed against the walled-up portion and a gas oven was placed on it.
The murder came to light when Nandalal Singh, who was buying the house, put out an advertisement inviting objections, if any, from claimants to the building, alerting Amar and Samar.