Identity fear cost Pritam his life

Patna, Feb. 1: Fear of being identified by the young research scholar from Silchar in Assam compelled his abductors to eliminate Pritam Bhattacharjee in July last year.

The revelation was made by one of nine persons arrested by the Naugachia Government Railway Police in connection with the murder case.

Bhattacharjee's mutilated body was recovered from a place adjacent to Kataria railway station in Naugachia police district on July 15, 2012. The 25-year-old student, who was travelling to Delhi on the Awadh-Assam Express, went missing from the Naugachia railway station on July 9 after he gave chase to a group of men who had snatched his bag.

Additional director-general of police (rail) P.N. Roy said the case has now been solved and the chargesheet against seven of the nine accused has been submitted in the court. "It was a blind case and has been solved on the basis of scientific evidence," he told The Telegraph.

One of the alleged abductors told the police that Bhattacharjee was held captive at Naugachia station on the pretext that his bag containing certificates and other valuables would be returned.

Police officials associated with the investigation said the kidnappers had planned to let him off after extracting ransom money from the family. However, mounting police pressure and fear of being identified by the research scholar compelled them to change their strategy and they finally decided to kill him.

The officials said the abductors were divided on whether to let him go. While one section was of the opinion that the youth should be released, another group opposed it, saying they would all "land in trouble" as Bhattacharjee was well educated and would recognise them in a test identification parade.

The alleged abductors, among them Chandan Sah, Nepali Singh and Subhash Singh, had planned to hand over Bhattacharjee to another gang to strike a deal with his family in Silchar. However, no other gang operating in the area, also known as Bihar's "kidnap zone", accepted the offer as the police had intensified raids on suspected criminal hideouts.

The statements of the abductors were corroborated by the polygraph test conducted on them at the state forensic science laboratory in Patna. The investigating officials said of the nine persons arrested, seven have criminal antecedents and were earlier sent to jail in cases of robbery, theft and loot on moving trains.

The investigating officials said the suspects in the case were identified and arrested on the basis of mobile phone conversations. The hand phones of the suspects were under surveillance and the conversations were recorded, which finally led to their arrest.

Investigating officials claimed the criminals involved in Bhattacharjee's kidnap and subsequent murder changed at least 20 SIM cards to fox the police and avoid identification. "As the accused in the case were earlier sent to jail, they were aware of the investigation methods. So they kept changing not only SIM cards but also the mobile handsets," said an investigating officer.

Besides Subash, Chandan and Nepali, the other suspects identified as Rajesh Mandal, Valmiki Rajak, Vijay Mandal, Jeetan Mandal, Chhotu Sahni and Sudhish Singh admitted their involvement in the crime, the police said.

Jeetan Mandal, brother of a people's representative, was the driver of the SUV which was used for carrying Bhattacharjee to the spot where he was killed.

Roy, the ADG (rail), said a special team headed by deputy superintendent of police Alok Kumar (who was posted in Begusarai district) was formed to solve the case. Inspector-general (rail) Vinay Kumar was assigned to monitor the investigation, he added.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

The former England batsman will have to lead the franchise as he is out of the match against Bangalore with a finger injury. More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »