TALE OF TORTURE MARKS DEATH OF TRADER'S WIFE 

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By Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 16.11.00
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Calcutta, Nov.16 :    Calcutta, Nov.16:  Ruchika Jalan, found dead inside a car in front of her Rabindra Sarani residence on Wednesday, was regularly "tortured" by her husband and had even fled to her parents in Kathmandu three times in the past four months, according to brother-in-law Sunil Agarwal. While a post-mortem conducted on Ruchika's body on Thursday has revealed that she died due to "asyphixation caused by throttling or choking", the inquest report notes some "injury marks on the throat". After preliminary investigations, the police say it could either be a case of suicide after a quarrel with husband Aloke or a case of murder. Aloke, his grandmother, Draupadi, and the family driver have been arrested and remanded to 10 days in police custody. None of them has been charged with murder but all three have been booked under mental and physical torture, abetment to commit suicide and concealment of evidence. "We need more evidence before a murder charge can be slapped on them," said officer-in-charge of Shyampukur police station, Tarapada Dutta. Around 9.15 pm on Wednesday, a group of people found a lifeless body inside a green Ambassador parked in front of 516, Rabindra Sarani. Immediately, they informed the police, who broke open the car and dragged out the body. On being rushed to hospital, the police were informed that Ruchika had died a few hours earlier. Aloke, a trader, has said that around 5 pm on Wednesday, he received a call from his grandmother at his Burrabazar office, saying that Ruchika had been taken ill. "I rushed home on hearing this and found Ruchika lying unconscious in bed," Aloke told the police. He and his driver carried her to the car. According to Aloke, they went to a number of private hospitals and nursing homes in the city but returned home on being refused admission. The investigating officer of the case, Asif Jamal, said that Aloke had told them that by the time he reached home after his "fruitless" visits to various hospitals, he had realised that his wife was dead. "So, he simply locked up Ruchika in the car, sent the driver home and then went up to consult his relatives on what to do next," Jamal said. It was at this time that some neighbours stumbled upon the body. Police say Ruchika led an "oppressed" life in the Jalan household. The two years of her married life had been marred with fights and quarrels and her "drunken" husband would often beat her black and blue. "Aloke used to be constantly drunk, partying with friends and bullying his wife," said Dutta. "Life was also made unbearable for Ruchika by Aloke's grandmother, who never let her out of the house and made things miserable for her at home." Aloke's father died six months ago and his mother left for relatives in Assam, unable to bear the wayward ways of her son. The police said that on Wednesday, Aloke had a "terrible" fight with his wife and he even beat her up severely, with Draupadi encouraging him all along. What happened in the next couple of hours is not yet clear. But a neighbour, Sangeeta Jain, who lives next door, said she had dropped in at the Jain house around 6 pm on Wednesday, as a call for Aloke had come to her home. "When I entered the house, I found Ruchika lying motionless on a mattress with Draupadi trying to pour drops of water into her mouth. I instantly realised that something was wrong," Sangeeta said. Police said that they are now waiting for Ruchika's parents to arrive before embarking on the next course of investigations.