For Papiya Raha (name changed on request) and her aged parents, the advertisement seemed too good to be true. Here was a man looking for a bride, who could be a divorcee with children and could even stay on at her parents’ place.
Within a couple of months of her parents meeting the advertiser (Alok Datta), Papiya, a nurse, tied the knot with him. Datta insisted on a “simple registry marriage and a brief ceremony at Kalighat to save money”; he had no demands for dowry and moved in as ghar jamai at her Banerjeepara residence in Dhakuria.
But the honeymoon period lasted just 72 hours. On the fourth day, Datta picked a fight with his in-laws, announced that he could no longer live with them and walked out after beating up Papiya and snatching some of her ornaments.
The case has now come to Calcutta High Court, after a brief pause in the Alipore sub judicial magistrate’s court, and will be heard in a few days. In the dock will be a fraud who, allegedly, duped “at least a dozen women” before the Rahas fell into his honey trap.
When Datta advertised in 2002 (December 8), he was a resident of RN Tagore Road in Dakshineswar. He was a “kayastha from Purba Banga (erstwhile East Bengal)”, he did not have any addiction, had “a pleasant personality” and held a B.Com degree. He was a private tutor and was looking for a good-looking woman who was financially independent. She could be unmarried or a widow or a divorcee with or without children.
The case first went up to the sub-divisional judicial magistrate’s court at Alipore, where Datta surrendered and won bail. He told the court that the Rahas had promised to help him set up a separate establishment after marriage. The Rahas have now moved high court praying that Datta be denied bail. “They are also pleading for exemplary punishment,” said their counsel, Tapas Midya.