Gavel for judge, law and order(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Gavel for judge, law and order(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Bihar man convicted for murder after 45 years

Chaturanand Chowdhry was convicted for murder of Dhananjay Chowdhury, who was shot dead on April 28, 1974, following dispute over irrigating agriculture land.
By Avijit Biswas | Hindustan Times, Bhagalpur, Bhagalpur
PUBLISHED ON SEP 20, 2019 09:51 AM IST

A sessions court here on Wednesday pronounced a man in his 60s guilty in a murder case dating back to 1974 and fixed the date of sentencing as September 25.

Chaturanand Chowdhry, a resident of village Pothia under Sanhoula police stations, has been convicted for murder of Dhananjay Chowdhury, who was shot dead on April 28, 1974, following dispute over irrigating agriculture land.

In all, five persons, Chandra Kishore Chowdhury and his three sons Ravindrakant Chowdhury, Chaturanand Chowdhury and Madan Chowdhury, besides Ramvilas Yadav, were named as accused in the FIR registered at Sanhoula PS on a complaint by Vijay Kant Chowdhury, cousin of the victim.

Md Reyaz Hussain, the additional public prosecutor (APP), said he took charge of the case in early 2008, when some important documents concerning the case, such as case diary and post-mortem report, were unavailable. The case was taken up for sessions trial in 1991.

Hussain said he was unaware of reasons that led to the magisterial trial dragging on for so long.

After a carbon copy of the case diary could be retrieved, charges were framed against the accused by court and efforts were stepped to locate the post-mortem report, APP informed.

He said when the local medical college authorities were contacted for the post-mortem report, they said autopsies used to be conducted at the Sadar Hospital in the year when the crime took place.

Communications with Sadar Hospital authorities revealed the report was sent to the medical college hospital authorities, Hussain said, adding that the doctor who had conducted the autopsy had also died and ultimately the report could not be found. Locating the autopsy report took a lot of time, he said.

Hussain said a total of seven prosecution witnesses corroborated charges against accused in their deposition.

 In course of the trial, a paper showing that the licensed firearm used for killing the victim had been deposited in armoury could not be located. The firearm was produced as exhibit in court to substantiate charges against the accused, the APP said.

 During the trial, Chandra Kishore Chowdhury and Ram Vilas Yadav died. Among the remaining three accused, Madan Chowdhury is facing trial in a juvenile court as he was a minor at the time of incident, Hussain informed.

 He said Ravindra Chowdhury, brother of accused held guilty for the crime, was, however, acquitted by court, being given benefit of the doubt.

Though Chaturanand Chowdhury’s age at the time of the incident could not been established, the APP said his age, to the best of his information, was above 20 years at the time he committed the crime.  

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