Midnapore, June 17: Basab Rambabu and seven of his accomplices were today jailed for life for murdering Manas Choubey, son of late CPI leader Narayan Choubey.
The additional sessions judge handed the sentence a day after holding the eight guilty.
Rambabu, who once spelt terror in Kharagpur, is already serving a life term for murdering Manas’ brother Gautam.
Given a chance to speak by the judge, Rambabu said he and his accomplices had been “falsely implicated” in both cases. When their turn came, the accomplices said they had been framed and that their families would suffer if they were jailed for life.
Rambabu said: “On the day of Manas’ murder, I was not even in Kharagpur. I was in Ooty, where my daughter was being admitted to school. The car that police said I used to get away in after the murder is not mine. Despite telling the court all this I never got an opportunity to prove the police wrong.”
As he was led away, Rambabu told reporters: “You know I am innocent. What more can I say. I am going to appeal to the high court.”
Manas was shot dead from point-blank range on June 26, 1999. Gautam’s killing went largely unnoticed as he was murdered on September 11, 2001, when the terror attacks on the US hogged all news space.
Reading out his verdict, Justice Bhim Charan Maity convicted the eight men for murder and for violating the Arms Act.
Gautam and Manas’ mother, Gouri Choubey, was present in court. She was accompanied by her daughter Kakoli, and Gautam’s infant daughters, Esha and Alisha. “Political parties are to be blamed for prolonging the hearing of Manas’ case. Gautam was murdered to stall the proceedings of this case,” she said.
The widow added that if a verdict on Manas’ murder had been reached earlier, Gautam would not have been killed. “I had approached Jyoti Basu as well as Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee but to no avail.” An emotional Gouri said she wanted Rambabu to be hanged.
K. Shiva, Sunil Sharma, Babu Roy, K. Chinni, Suresh Singh, Rajesh Sinha and H.N. Pandey were the others to be sentenced.