The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Break in doctor death case

Ranaghat, Aug. 13: The prime accused in the murder of Chandan Sen, a physician attached to the sub-divisional hospital here, surrendered in court today after dodging arrest for several months.

Around 10 am, Dr Rehamat Alam drove to the sub-divisional magistrate’s court here with lawyer K.K. Sarkar in a white Tata Sumo and gave himself up before P. S. Mukherjee. Clad in a green, half-sleeved shirt and beige trousers, Alam stood silent in court for about 40 minutes while the magistrate remanded him in judicial custody till tomorrow, when the case comes up for hearing again.

The surrender comes exactly two months after the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) filed chargesheets against Alam — mentioning him as the prime accused in the February 26 murder — and seven others, including a physician couple, Alam’s driver, a social welfare officer, a retired employee of the hospital and his son.

“He (Alam) had informed court officials yesterday that he would be surrendering and we had kept the event under wraps fearing adverse public reaction that might have jeopardised security here. Even the CID was not informed,” said additional public prosecutor K.C. Bhawal. Alam was whisked off to the sub-divisional jail here under heavy police escort.

Bhawal said a lawyer had moved a bail plea on Alam’s behalf in the Supreme Court on August 8. But the court rejected the petition and directed Alam to immediately surrender.

Alam was also remanded in judicial custody till August 27 in another case, this one of medical negligence. Angered by the death of his 17-year-old son Prahlad on April 1, Atul Sarkar had lodged a complaint with the police that his son died of injuries sustained in a football match after Alam failed to attend to him. The magistrate had asked the police to begin a suo motu case against Alam for the teenager’s death.

After the short, stocky Alam surrendered, there was speculation on where he had holed up while on the run from the CID. The way he presented himself, it seemed like he hadn’t had a difficult time. Sources said he was sheltered by “influential” people who knew about the crime.

The motive behind Sen’s murder on the night of February 26 is not yet clear. The young doctor was found dead in a shallow pond behind the house of Sunil Ganguly, a retired employee of the hospital, after Sen had gone there for dinner.

It was initially passed off as death by drowning after a heart attack. After the CID took over, the post-mortem report said Sen had died of asphyxiation and not cardiac failure.

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