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DNA test washes rape taint off tutor

Calcutta, Oct. 11: A DNA test has brought freedom to 29-year-old Utpal Chatterjee after he spent two years in jail on a false charge of rape.

In July 2004, Subhra Hazra, 18, had lodged a complaint against Utpal, alleging that he had raped her and made her pregnant.

Calcutta High Court ordered Utpal’s release today after the DNA test report showed that his blood sample did not match that of Subhra’s daughter.

A private tutor in Behrampore, about 200 km from Calcutta, Utpal was Subhra’s neighbour and would often visit her home. In her FIR, Subhra, a businessman’s daughter, said Utpal had promised her marriage but did not honour it when she became pregnant.

The tutor was charged with rape and a local court began hearing the case.

Utpal prayed for anticipatory bail, saying the allegations were false. But the court rejected his petition.

Utpal then moved Calcutta High Court. But it, too, turned him down and sentenced him to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment.

Utpal was arrested on September 19, 2004, and he went to Behrampore jail, leaving a widowed mother alone at home.

In March 2005, Subhra gave birth to a girl.

Uttam Majumdar, Utpal’s counsel, made several appeals to the high court, and it directed the state administration to conduct DNA tests on Utpal, Subhra and her daughter.

Blood samples were collected thrice but the authorities failed to get them tested within a month, after which they were rendered useless.

Last month, blood samples were collected again and sent to Hyderabad for examination. The report arrived two days ago.

Majumdar today submitted a copy of the report before a vacation bench of Justices Asim Banerjee and P.K. Deb.

“The report clearly states that my client’s blood sample did not match that of the baby’s,” Majumdar told the judges.

After going through the report and hearing the state government’s submissions, the bench directed the inspector-general of prisons to release Utpal immediately.

Majumdar said his client, who lost two precious years of his life, would move court, demanding compensation from the girl.

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