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Murder convict acquitted after 10 yrs

The high court on Tuesday acquitted a man who has spent nine-and-a-half years in jail on the charge of murdering his friend. Jagat Kumar Sarkar’s graduate daughter raised money for his prolonged legal battle by giving private tuition.

The division bench of Justice A. Bose and Justice S. Sadhu ordered immediate release of the Bally resident, lodged in Alipore Central jail.

“The police, particularly former sub-inspector of Bally police station, Asit Kumar Sen, had drawn up a false case against Jagat Kumar Sarkar and fabricated a story that he had surrendered at the police station and admitted having murdered friend Sakti Chakrabarty,” the bench observed.

Sarkar, who had been arrested on May 14, 2004, and Chakrabarty were colleagues at a small lathe factory in Howrah. The prosecution claimed that a drunk Sarkar had murdered Chakrabarty by hitting his head with a hammer.

The case diary submitted by the police in the trial court read: “Around 5.55am on May 14, 2004, Jagat Kumar Sarkar came to Bally police station and told the police that he had murdered one of his friends, Sakti Chakrabarty. He also said he had kept the body beside a culvert. The body and the murder weapon were recovered.”

An additional sessions judge of Howrah pronounced Sarkar guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment on March 2008.

The high court division bench, however, observed: “Actually, the police had first recovered Chakrabarty’s body from beside the culvert and then arrested Sarkar and charged him with murder.” The judges also held that there was no evidence that Sarkar had brought the body to the spot near the culvert.

“During his stay at Alipore Central jail, Sarkar taught drawing to fellow prisoners. He also took an active role in the production of Alokananda Roy’s Balmiki Pratibha,” Sarkar’s counsel Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee said.

Sarkar’s daughter Jhuma, who graduated in history and is doing an MA, said: “My faith in his innocence prompted me to raise money for the legal battle by giving private tuition. My mother works as a domestic help. She brought me up. I had resolved that I would not marry before my father’s innocence was proved.”