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Bail for 6 in doc murder case

The high court on Wednesday granted bail to CPM leader Biswajyoti Basu and five others serving life imprisonment for the murder of doctor Sushil Pal.

A Howrah court had in April convicted eight people of murder and four of hiding proof.

“Our clients have moved an appeal in the high court against the Howrah court’s verdict. They should be released from jail pending disposal of their appeal,” Sekhar Basu, who appeared for the six with Milan Mukherjee, submitted before the division bench of Justice Tapen Sen and Justice Ashim Mondal.

“They were arrested a few days after Sushil Pal’s body was recovered from a canal in Howrah’s Sankrail and have spent 10 years in jail.”

Advocate Mukherjee said: “The high court has granted bail to two of the convicts, Piyali Das and Chandan Dome. Since all of them (the convicts) are law-abiding citizens, they will not leave the country if granted bail.”

Public prosecutor Manjit Singh said: “It is the court’s discretion to decide whether the petitioners will be granted bail or not.”

After hearing both sides, the division bench decided to grant bail to Basu, Subhanarayan Ghosh, Amit Banerjee, Surinder Agarwal, Prahlad Sarkar and Murtaz Khan.

The mud-caked body of Pal, a gynaecologist at Walsh Hospital in Seerampore, was fished out of a canal in Sankrail, Howrah, on July 3, 2004. He had gone missing the day before after leaving his Bright Street home.

According to the CID, the 47-year-old doctor had been summoned to a nursing home run by Basu on July 2 for an abortion on Piyali, who worked there. The doctor was allegedly murdered after he refused to perform the abortion.

The investigating agency alleged that Basu had masterminded the crime while the other accused assisted him.

Howrah district and sessions judge Tanmoy Ghosh had convicted eight persons of murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment. They were Biswajyoti Basu, Piyali Das, Subhanarayan Ghosh, Amit Banerjee, Surinder Agarwal, Prahlad Sarkar, Murtaz Khan and Santosh Agarwal.

The four persons who were convicted of hiding evidence and jailed for seven years were Chandan Dome, Jayanta Ghosh, Rajiv Nath and Biswanath Kangshabanik.

Of the eight lifers, only Agarwal is still in jail.

Kanika Pal, the doctor’s widow, said: “I will request the state government to move a special leave petition in the Supreme Court to cancel the bail granted to the eight convicts. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee is not in the city. After she returns, I will try to make an appeal to her.”