Calcutta, March 18: The kidnap was conducted with ease, but for the five novices, the road has been rough since then.
The group of five, who had their first brush with crime when they allegedly kidnapped and killed Dr Jayanta Ghosh, is still haunted by the memory of the murder, police said.
Looking to make a fast buck, Bablu Pal, Swapan Kahar, Raju Mishra, Jagannath Nashkar and Somnath Mistry hit upon the idea of kidnapping for ransom.
But being new to the business, they found it hard to find a victim.
In January 2006, they finally zeroed in on Dr Jayanta Ghosh, who Bablu was acquainted with.
Now they had a victim but no weapon. So Bablu sold off his land at New Barrackpore for Rs 18,000 and bought a pistol last month for Rs 2,600.
A plan was hatched ' the five decided to take the 62-year-old doctor to Murshidabad after kidnapping him.
'Since they had never indulged in criminal activities, Ghosh proved to be a soft target. Also, since he was elderly, they knew he would not be able to put up much of a resistance,' an officer of Posta police station said.
But before the police could catch them, first-timers' jitters did.
Bablu's interrogation has revealed that he visited Murshidabad in the first week of February to attend a relative's wedding. He tried to rent a room then but could not get it.
Four days before kidnapping Ghosh, he returned to Murshidabad and again failed to find a room. But Bablu was confident that he would manage something and even lied to his associates in Calcutta that he had booked a room.
When the five reached Murshidabad with the doctor and got to know the truth, they began to panic. 'The doctor had already recognised them and they did not want to take the risk of releasing him. So they decided to kill him,' the officer said.
Now came the question of who would soil his hands with the doctor's blood. They downed a bottle of liquor, hoping it would give them courage. Feeling adequately tipsy, Jagannath tried to shoot the doctor with Bablu's pistol, but it refused to fire.
Then the other, and tougher, option of using a knife came up.
According to the five's statements to the police, Jagannath took the knife in his hand but could not summon the courage to kill Ghosh. So he asked Raju to hit him hard so that he would be filled with murderous rage. It worked. Jagannath slit the doctor's throat before dumping him.
The deed done, they betrayed their nervousness yet again by not bothering to check if the doctor was dead. They left Ghosh bleeding.
'They were very nervous right from the beginning. During interrogation, they shivered while narrating the incident,' an officer said.
'Before slitting Ghosh's throat, Jagannath became so tense that the knife slipped out of his hand twice and he was trembling. The terrible sight of the killing ' Ghosh groaning in pain for some time ' still haunts them,' he added.