A wife convicted of conspiring to murder her husband and sentenced to life imprisonment was on Wednesday acquitted by Calcutta High Court after almost 13 years in jail.
“It is a matter of sorrow that a housewife had to spend 13 long years behind bars due to an incorrect lower court verdict… the prosecution failed to prove that Aparajita (Bose), along with a friend of Kunal (Bose), had killed her husband,” Justice Ashim Kumar Roy said in the verdict.
The division bench of Justice Roy and Justice Subal Vaidya ruled that the sentence of life imprisonment handed to 44-year-old Aparajita — Moon Moon to her family — by the additional district and sessions judge of Alipore was “incorrect”.
Aparajita had been arrested within days of her husband Kunal, an executive with the Metal and Scrap Trading Corporation, being found critically injured in a ditch off the EM Bypass on May 26, 2000.
He died in hospital the same day.
Kunal’s friend, realtor Kalyan “Nantu” Roy, had been arrested along with Aparajita on charges of criminal conspiracy and murder.
Aparajita was in jail until April this year, when a division bench of the high court granted her bail almost eight years after she had applied for it. She has been staying in her mother’s house in Dhakuria since April 16. Her next goal is to get custody of her teenaged sons Abhranil and Souryanil.
“My joy (on being acquitted) is short-lived. It will be complete only when I get my sons back,” she told Metro on Wednesday evening at her lawyer Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee’s chamber in Golf Green.
Aparajita had met Kunal at a friend’s place on May 14, 1989, and they got married on January 24, 1992.
On May 23, 2000, Kunal stepped out of home in the evening, apparently with friend Kalyan, but didn’t return.
Three days later, he was found injured in a ditch in Tiljala, off the Bypass, in a critical condition. He died at Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital.
Aparajita was arrested on June 4 after Kunal’s mother Anuradha filed a complaint with Gariahat police station, accusing her daughter-in-law of conspiring with her husband’s friend Kalyan to murder him.
The couple’s eldest son Abhranil was then five and Souryanil three-and-a-half.
“It was around 3pm (on June 4, 2000) when the police came and asked me to accompany them to the police station. Abhranil was asleep. Subhronil asked where was I going and I promised to return soon,” Aparajita recounted.
That was the last time she saw her sons. The teenaged boys are students of a reputable south Calcutta school.
“I had appealed to the authorities several times to allow my sons to visit me in jail, but nobody helped me,” she said.
“I would seek solace in the company of children of convicts. I tutored several of them,” she said.
The only person apart from her mother to pay her weekly visits was Sudipto Ganguly, her younger brother. He shifted to Dubai last year and she became lonelier still.
Aparajita said she bore all the suffering heaped on her by thinking about her sons and telling herself that she would be reunited with them someday.
Apart from helping the children of convicts with their books, she would teach the eager adults to read and write.
Aparajita also immersed herself in organising and participating in cultural activities. She joined a jail troupe and even performed at Rabindra Sadan a few years back.
“Locked up in my cell after sunset, I would while away time watching the cats roam and think that these animals were at least free and not behind bars like me for a crime I didn’t commit,” she said.