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Friend found guilty of student murder

A friend of 18-year-old student Kuntal Sain has been convicted for hacking him to death in July 2004.

Arijit Pal, Kuntal’s senior in Dasnagar’s St Thomas School, was helped in the kidnap and murder by their common friend Sampad Mukherjee, who died in Presidency jail in October 2004.

Sampad’s mother Manjusha and younger son Jyotirmoy, who was in his late teens in 2004, were found guilty of hatching the plot. The district and sessions judge of Howrah, Raghunath Roy, pronounced the verdict on Friday. The sentences will be announced on Saturday.

Sampad, who had dropped out of college, called his neighbour Kuntal over to his house in Sasthitala, Howrah, on the morning of July 2 in 2004. Arijit, another resident of the area, reached Sampad’s house after some time.

The two, along with Manjusha and Jyotirmoy, confined kept Kuntal in the house. That afternoon, Arijit called Kuntal’s father Avijit, a trader, from a PCO booth and asked for a ransom of Rs 25 lakh. Avijit agreed to pay only if the caller produced evidence that his son was safe.

He later sent one of Kuntal’s friends to Sampad’s house to find out if his son was there. The four, none of whom had a criminal record, managed to send the friend away but panicked thereafter.

A couple of hours later, Sampad and Arijit took Kuntal to the deserted Pankuria bridge and hit him with a chopper 49 times, killing him immediately. Sampad sustained injuries in his hand that later helped the cops to nail him. The duo threw the body under the bridge and returned home.

Residents of the area visited Sampad’s house later at night and found evidence that made them suspect that his family and Arijit were involved in Kuntal’s disappearance.

Avijit lodged a complaint with Chatterjeehat police station and the cops, too, started questioning the four. They confessed late at night and led the police to the body.

The trial began in 2005. None of the 21 witnesses turned hostile.

Special public prosecutor Chinmoy Choudhury said: “There was no direct evidence against the accused. We pieced together circumstantial evidence to nail the culprits.”

Avijit said: “I shut down my businesses and pursued the case for four years. I am happy that justice has prevailed.”

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