Islampur, Sept. 4: A murder convict tried to kill himself purportedly by consuming pesticide in the lock-up of a fast-track court here this afternoon, minutes before the judge was to pronounce the sentence.
Amal Mondol, a petty trader, was admitted to the Islampur subdivisional hospital and doctors said he was out of danger. The 35-year-old was accused of knifing his wife, Suchitra, to death in February, 2008, at their home in Lalbazar near Chopra.
Today, judge Sanjib Sharma of the fast-track (first) court, found Mondol guilty of murder and set 2pm for reading out the sentence. When the court went into recess at 1.30pm, Amal was alone in the lock-up. Earlier in the day, two policemen had been on guard outside the lock-up.
Court sources said a lawyer had spotted the convict lying on the floor and he raised an alarm. “A pesticide bottle was found in the lock-up and we suspect he consumed it. The judge arrived at the spot and instructed the police to take the convict to the hospital,” said a court source.
Additional public prosecutor, Kaiser Choudhury, said the judge had taken strong exception to the security lapse. “The judge had declared the prisoner guilty and was supposed to have read out the sentence at 2pm. But he is very worried that the prisoner managed to smuggle poison into the court lock up from the jail,” Choudhury said.
The public prosecutor blamed the police for the lapse. “It has to be investigated how the prisoner smuggled poison into the court when he was being taken from the jail. The police should have been present all the time at the lock up. A convicted person should be under constant watch.”
Choudhury said the judge did not pronounce the verdict today. “A convict cannot be read out a sentence if the person is not in perfect health as per the law.”
According to doctors at the Islampur subdivisional hospital, Mondol is out of danger. “We could save him as he was brought in time to the hospital. He has probably consumed pesticide used in tea gardens,” said a doctor.
North Dinajpur police superintendent, Akhilesh Chaturvedi could not be contacted.
A senior officer of the district police said that the matter was being investigated.
“We are probing the role of the policemen on duty in the court and those who accompanied the prisoner from the jail to the court. We are also looking into whether the prisoner had an accomplice who slipped the bottle to him,” the officer said.