The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Life terms for Chowbey killers

Midnapore, Aug. 31: Violent scenes outside the court and pleas for clemency from the convicts inside followed the life imprisonment verdict on underworld don B. Rambabu, his wife and 17 associates.

The Paschim Midnapore district additional sessions judge passed the sentence for the murder of Gautam Chowbey, the eldest son of former CPI MP Narayan Chowbey. He also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on each of the accused. Gautam was killed by Rambabu and his gang in Kharagpur on September 11 last year.

All the accused were convicted under Section 302 of the IPC by the court on Thursday. The judge pronounced the sentences today after hearing the convicts individually. Before passing the judgment, the additional district session judge said the convicts had murdered Gautam in cold blood. “It was a pre-planned, brutal murder and not an ordinary crime. They deserved exemplary punishment for their crime.”

All the convicts pleaded innocence and alleged police conspiracy against them. “Sir, we see in films how innocent people are framed, now I am seeing it in real life,” said Abdul Rauf, an accused. Outside, the convicts’ families alleged that the judgment was biased.

Rambabu’s wife, Manju, broke down as the sentences were read out. Tears rolling down her cheeks, she pleaded that her two minor sons would be rendered orphans in the absence of their parents. Later, Rambabu said he would appeal in high court.

Fistfight broke out outside the court between the convicts’ kin and the victim’s friends and family. Relatives of Abdul Rauf, Debasish Dutta and Kausik Chakraborty alleged that their sons were victims of a political conspiracy hatched by a family friend of the Chowbeys.

Gautam’s mother, Gouri, who was present in the court, said: “I have lost my two sons. They murdered them in cold blood. Now I have no male member in my family. But I get some solace from the fact that the killers are punished.”

Among Rambabu’s associates, who were sentenced to life, were B. Shrinu and his brother-in law, Ashok Tadi. The judge also passed a separate sentence of four years’ rigorous imprisonment on another convict, Sanjay Thakur, for violating the Arms Act. Both sentences would run simultaneously.

Rajendra Singh, Bijoy Singh, Bikram Singh, Sailendra Singh Baxi, Kumar Singh, Arunangsu Bhanja, Dipak Bera, Kausik Chakraborty, Debasish Dutta, Abdul Rauf, R. Chinny, S. Balaraju, Krishna Rao, L. Kankar Rao and Sanjay Thakur were the others.

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