| A huge crowd gathers outside the court on the day of judgment. Telegraph picture
Krishnagar, July 5: Four persons, including two doctors, were today sentenced to life imprisonment after being pronounced guilty of murdering Chandan Sen, a surgeon of Ranaghat Subdivisional Hospital.
District and sessions judge Raghu Bhattacharya sentenced Subharanjan Khanra and Rahamat Alam, both doctors of the hospital, retired head clerk Sunil Ganguly and Alam’s driver Abbas Ali Karigar to life imprisonment. He also sentenced social welfare officer of the hospital, Apurba Sanyal ' found guilty of wiping out evidence ' to five years’ rigorous imprisonment.
The judge while giving his ruling yesterday had acquitted Arundhuti Khanra, doctor wife of Subharanjan, and Gautam Ganguly, son of Sunil, for lack of evidence.
The doctor duo, Khanra and Alam, who till yesterday maintained a straight face, today broke down in the courtroom for the first time when the judge asked them if they had anything to say. “Sir I am innocent. I have old parents at home. I had always maintained good and cordial relations with Dr Sen. Please don’t punish me,” Khanra burst into tears.
Alam, too, broke down and pleaded he was not present at the dinner hosted by Sunil on that fateful night after which Sen’s body was fished out from a pond in Ranaghat on February 26, 2003.
“Sir, how could I do the crime as I was not present at the dinner party' If my driver has done anything wrong I should not be punished for it,” Alam cried out.
Unlike yesterday, none of the relatives of the convicted persons were present in the court.
The judge who had yesterday told the convicts that they might have to face death sentence, said Sen was invited to a dinner and was offered food and drinks. Thereafter, he was murdered.
“There was no direct evidence in regard to the circumstances immediately before the commission of the crime, which prompted the convicts to commit murder of a benevolent doctor. Here the extreme penalty of death sentence does not appear to be proper.”
A crowd of about 5,000 had packed the court and the courtyard outside. Many of them were from Ranaghat who knew Sen. He was popular there as one who always helped poor patients and discouraged them from going to nursing homes. The crowd cheered so loudly when Bhattacharya spelt out the sentences that the judgment was barely audible.
As the convicted doctors, Khanra and Alam, were being led out of the court, a mob came up to them hurling abuses.
“Hand them over to us. We will kill them. The have lost the right to lead a life even after their sentence is over. They have killed such a good and popular doctor of Ranaghat. Now we are going to kill them,” one of them shouted. A few stones were also hurled at the prison van.
The police resorted to a lathicharge to clear the way to take the convicts to the prison van.