|Swapan Basu Roychowdhury
Calcutta, Nov. 6: Four years after a surgeon's mutilated body was found by the Hooghly, the Criminal Investigation Department claimed to have cracked the case and has placed three persons, including his widow, under arrest.
Lakshmi, Harinandan Prasad Sau and Bapi Debnath were held on Wednesday and remanded in CID custody for 10 days.
Swapan Basu Roychowdhury, a surgeon attached to the Indian Oil Refinery Hospital in Haldia, was murdered on the night of January 18, 2000. His body was spotted on the river bank at Durgachak, about 120 km from Calcutta, the next morning.
The murder rocked Bengal, forcing the government to call in the CID.
This is the department's second hurrah in quick succession following the breakthrough in the Dr Sushil Pal murder case. A CPM leader has been arrested in connection with the murder, which sleuths concluded took place after Pal refused to abort a pregnancy in an advanced stage.
Additional director-general of police, CID, Ranjit Mohanty, who is overseeing the surgeon case, said: 'We failed to get any clue to the mystery murder for years as there was no evidence. But there was light at the end of the tunnel when we zeroed in on the deceased's wife and her associates after marathon investigation.'
The surgeon's father, Pratul Basu Roychowdhury, who ran from pillar to post seeking justice, complained the case could have been solved long ago had the sleuths been 'prompt'. 'Though I had approached the CID a month after my son was murdered, the sleuths sat idle for years even after getting a directive from Calcutta High Court on the basis of a writ petition moved by me in September 2001,' he alleged.
He said he had 'smelt something wrong' when his son handed over some educational certificates and other documents, saying he feared for his life.
Mohanty said Lakshmi had conspired with the others to murder Basu Roychowdhury 'to grab his property'. The three have been booked on charges of murder, criminal conspiracy and disappearance of evidence.
While Lakshmi and Harinandan were picked up from their Salt Lake and Narkeldanga houses respectively, Bapi was arrested from Haldia.
'Our investigation shows Harinandan had an affair with Lakshmi before she was married to the doctor. Bapi, who owns a jewellery shop in Haldia, became friendly with Lakshmi. All three plotted the murder,' Mohanty said.
The trio had slit the surgeon's throat and dumped his body, Mohanty recounted. 'When the widow was interrogated, she feigned ignorance and alleged some outsiders had a hand in it,' he added.