An Additional Sessions Court in Barrackpore, West Bengal has acquitted a husband and his entire family from the charges of abetment to suicide and dowry death of the wife within seven years of marriage. Shockingly, after the husband spent 42 days in jail on the said charge, police recovered a suicide note, which the woman had left behind before ending her life.
The details of the same are extremely dreadful and this discharge order can be used as a precedent where the husband and his family have got falsely implicated in case of wife’s untimely death.
- Anuradha Bhowmick (deceased victim) got married to Sunanda Bhowmick (husband) in 2011 and have a son, currently aged 8-years
- Anuradha’s elder brother, Amlan Chatterjee, got married a year later in 2012
- Before her brother’s marriage, both the siblings shared an amicable bond and regularly interacted on the health of woman’s parents
- It is alleged that Sudipta Chatterjee, Amlan’s wife, was creating trouble in property related matters and the fights between the brother-sister had gone beyond repair
- The main issue of dispute was that of a redevelopment project of ancestral land, where the victim wanted her share to construct a shop
- However, the sister-in-law strongly objected to this and the interaction between the sibling stopped
- The parents of the victim would visit their daughter’s place, however, the daughter would refrain from visiting her own maternal home
- The alleged suicide took place in 2016, when the victim and her 3½ son were at their home alone
- According to husband’s brother, victim and the son were poisoned and the son too was in hospital for nearly a week
- Now, in a horrifying turn of incidents, Amlan filed a complaint against Sunanda and his entire family holding them responsible for his sister’s suicide
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- A case of dowry death was filed by Amlan Chatterjee, on the Sunanda Bhowmick (husband), Samir Bhowmick (father-in-law), Anjali Bhowmick (mother-in-law), Amrita Bhowmick (unmarried sister-in-law), Anindya Bhowmick (brother-in-law), Subhash Bhattacharjee (maternal uncle of husband)
- The husband was immediately arrested and had to spend 42-days in custody
- Later when the police returned for searching the apartment again, they happened to have found a suicide note left by victim, which read “My sister-in-law is responsible for my suicide”
- The letter was sent to forensic department which confirmed that the handwriting was indeed that of the victim
- The police later arrested Sudipta as well
- Husband’s brother also alleges that wife’s brother and family bribed the police to hijack the matter
- Husband and his parents were given bail by Kolkata High Court earlier
- The husband’s family then moved court to discharge them from the matter
The honourable judge said that he had pursued the Kolkata High Court order dated July 2017 wherein,
The petitioners are the husband and in-laws of the victim. Victim housewife committed suicide due to the torture meted by one Sudipta Chatterjee, wife of defacto complainant, as would transpire from the suicide note collected at the time of investigation.
There are allegations of ill-treatment and torture at the behest of the petitioners who are the husband and in-laws of the victim lady. Admittedly, she committed suicide within seven years of marriage in her matrimonial home.
In view of aforesaid factual backdrop of case, I am not inclined to interfere with impugned proceeding at a premature stage. It is opined for the petitioners to agitate all issues at appropriate stage of proceedings including stage of consideration of charge in accordance with law, if so advised.
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The court further added that it had observed the scenario in the case had changed after the arrest of Sudipta Chatterjee. The court has also taken into consideration evidences and statements of various persons including neighbours who testified cordial relations between the deceased victim and her in-laws.
Pointing out to the Dowry Death FIR filed by victim’s brother, the court stated,
Mere mention of sections and the language used in the sections is not the be all and end all of the matter. What is required to be brought to the notice of the court is the particulars of the offence committed by each and every accused and the role played by each and every accused in committing that offence.
Quashing the criminal charges, the judge said,
Mere casual reference of the names of family members in a matrimonial dispute without allegation of active involvement in the matter would not justify taking cognizance against them. Continuation of the proceedings will be an abuse of process in absence of specific allegation. Hence criminal proceeding is quashed.
At the time of this order, accused Sudipta Chatterjee was not present in court and her lawyer prayed for adjournment, which has been granted. The trial for Sudipta Chatterjee will proceed as per law and the next date has been fixed for April 2020.
P.S. : The case and order has been shared by our consulting editor, Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj.
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