Five persons, including an advocate, were convicted by a fast track court on Thursday for the gruesome murder of a Patna University teacher Prof Papiya Ghosh and her maid Malti Devi in posh Patliputra colony in 2006.
Fast track court judge Om Prakash pronounced Anil Oraon, Manohar Kumar, Shanker Sah and Ashish Kumar Rai guilty under sections 396 (dacoity with murder) and 412 (dishonestly receiving property stolen in commission of a dacoity) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Advocate Ramchandra Mahto was found guilty under section 414 (assisting in concealment of stolen property). The quantum of punishment will be announced on Friday.
The charges were framed against five persons in the case on March 8, 2007. Altogether 30 persons deposed as prosecution witnesses while the defence produced five. The police investigation received a set back when half a dozen prosecution witnesses turned hostile during cross-examination.
Papiya, a history teacher at the Patna Women’s College and daughter of IAS officer late Ujjwal Ghosh, and her maid servant Malti Devi were hacked to death while resisting a dacoity bid in December 2006. Papiya, a spinster whose sister Tuktuk Ghosh is also an IAS officer and posted as officer on special duty (OSD) to Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, lived with her maid.
The murder had found its echo in the Parliament with several MPs from Bihar raising the issue and PM Manmohan Singh calling up CM Nitish Kumar to expedite the probe. Subsequently, a special team was set up.
Papiya’s mobile phone, recovered from one of the accused, had provided vital clues. A washing machine, stolen from her house, was recovered from advocate Mahto’s home. He was charged with concealment of stolen property.