| Bhattacharya's wife Lili and mother Aditi in court. Picture by Soumen Bhattacharjee
Calcutta, Sept. 14: Eight extortionists who slashed a private tutor's throat and hacked the body into seven pieces two years ago were today sentenced to death by a fast-track court in Barrackpore.
The convicts had accosted Archidev Bhattacharya, a resident of Bhanurmore near Sodepur in North 24-Parganas, when he was on his way back home on the night of September 29, 2003. After killing and cutting him up, they dumped the pieces on the Kalyani Expressway.
All the accused ' Uttam Das, Panchanan Tarafdar alias Pancha, Monoranjan Debnath, Bishu Das, Satyajit Das alias Sadhu, Shyamal Ghosh, Ganesh Das and Dipak Das alias Mou ' deserved 'exemplary punishment', subdivisional judicial magistrate Santanu Roy told a packed courtroom.
Not only was it 'the rarest of rare crimes', the killers had not shown any remorse afterwards, he said.
A mob of nearly 2,000 jostled with police and shouted slogans demanding the death sentence as the accused were brought to the court compound around 12.30 pm.
Around 2 pm, when the police came to take the accused before the magistrate, they looked distressed.
After reading out the sentence, the magistrate asked them if they had anything to say. All eight pleaded that the sentences be reconsidered and, when the magistrate declined, broke down in tears.
Bhattacharya's 70-year-old mother Aditi and wife Lili, who were in the courtroom, said they were happy. 'We hope the high court will uphold the judgment,' Lili said.
Public prosecutor Prithwish Dasgupta said he had evidence to prove that all eight had plotted the murder.
Eight lawyers appearing for the accused urged the magistrate to reconsider the punishment, saying not all of them were equally guilty.
'We will move the high court. We feel that some of the accused may get remission,' Tarak Sengupta said on behalf of the lawyers.