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Tuesday 15 May 2012

Dowry death, role of police & pathetic situation of women

Case Detail

Name of the victim- Ms. Sushmita Singh (deceased), aged about 23 years, wife of Mr. Santosh Kumar Singh, resided at 147 GT Road, Post Office- Konnagar, Police Station- Uttarpara, District- Hooghly, and West Bengal

Name of the perpetrators- 1. Mr. Santosh Kumar Singh (son of Mr. Shaturghan Singh of Village- Nawda Ben, Poice Station- Udwant Nagar, District- Ara, Bihar) 2. Ms. Lilawati Devi wife  of Mr. Shaturghan Singh, all residents of 147 GT Road, Post Office- Konnagar, Police Station- Uttarpara, District- Hooghly, 3. Ms. Pappi Singh wife of Mr. Seemant Bag 4. Mr. Seemant Bag, residing at adjacent area 5. Mr. Shaw; Assistant Sub Inspector of Uttarpara Police Station 6. Mr. Ashok Dhar, Sub Inspector of Police & Investigating Officer of the case at Uttarpara Police Station.
Date and time of the incident- From morning to evening of 5th May 2012

Place of incident- house of Mr. Santosh Kumar Singh at 147 GT Road, Post Office- Konnagar, Police Station- Uttarpara, District- Hooghly, and West Bengal

Case Detail

Sushmita Singh, daughter of Mr. Ashok Kumar Singh of village- Haldi Chapra, Police Station- Maner, and District- Patna got married to Mr. Santosh Kumar Singh (son of Mr. Shaturghna Singh of Village- Nawda Ben, Police Station- Udwant Nagar District- Ara, Bihar) on 12.12.2009. The marriage was according to traditional Hindu ceremony and solemnized at AMC Community Hall, near Shiv Mandir, Danapur Cantonment, Patna. The father of Sushmita paid Rs. 200000 and 180 grams of gold ornaments to the groom at the time of the marriage with other household items as dowry, the amount and items were demanded by Santosh Kumar Singh and one of his brother in law; Mr. B. N. Singh, who happen to be a police personal and living in Ara; Bihar. Rupees 200000 was deposited in bank account no. 10331853878 at State Bank of India, Danapur Branch on 24th July 2009. The family members of Sushmita have some of the documents of receipt of payment. Sushmita as a newly wed came to her husband’s home at Konnagar just after her marriage. As stated, just few days after the marriage, severe physical and mental torture had been meted upon her by her husband and in laws. They seized Sushmita’s mobile phone and restricted her to communicate with her parents and siblings. Sushmita was sent to  brother in law of Santosh; Mr. B. N. Singh’s place at Ara, Bihar after a week of her marriage and Sushmita’s parents were not informed about the same. When they came to know that she was living at Ara, brother of Sushmita rushed there and brought her to their rented home at Danapur on 24 January 2010. Thereafter, Sushmita lived with her mother and siblings at Danapur for next seven months. Later, Santosh Kumar Singh visited his in laws at Danapur and persuaded them for return of Sushmita by saying that he would solve the conjugal differences between them. Sushmita returned to Konnagar with her husband but for further spate of physical and mental torture. In the meantime, she got pregnant. While Sushmita’s siblings visited Konnagar, they found her in appalling state of health and persuaded Santosh Kumar Singh to bring their sister at their place. Sushmita was again at her paternal home. There Sushmita informed her mother that her husband and in laws obtained information about the sex of the fetus and when they came to know that Sushmita was carrying twin girl child, it infuriated them and the spate of torture increased. She delivered two girl children on 28th June of 2011 at Kurji Hospital, Patna. One of them died few days after birth due to prenatal malnourishment. On 7th November, 2011, Santosh Kumar Singh returned to Konnagar with Sushmita and one girl child. The spree of physical intimidation still continued, while Sushmita’s family made calls to her those were disconnected by Santosh. Santosh often informed to his in laws “all are well here and no need to worry”. Santosh also told them that he was not in Konnagar but from other sources Sushmita’s family received information that he was still at his place. Due to distance between Konnagar, Hooghly, West Bengal and Danapur, Patna, Bihar, it was not possible to take day to day note of her pathetic situation but Sushmita informed her family about intense torture upon her many a times. According to the cultural ethos, the parents of the deceased tried to pacify the situation by asking their daughter to keep quiet. She was living a life under surveillance and captivity. It has also been reported that Santosh made frequent demands for money. In July 2012, he demanded Rs. 2 lacs more from Sushmita’s family. Recently, Santosh Kumar Singh received Rs. 20000 on one of his friend; Mr. Shibu Mallik’s bank account from his in laws. The amount was deposited in said bank account at Bihar.

On 5th of May 2012, all of a sudden, the family of Sushmita received a call from her. She narrates that her daughter was terminally ill for previous couple of days but Santosh and his family not willing to admit her in a hospital. While the conversation was going on the connection was abruptly lost but they heard sounds of commotion and laments. Santosh Kumar Singh even warned her by saying ‘I will kill you by poisoning and it would be not difficult to get a remarriage’. On the same day at 6- 6.30 pm, they received another call from Sushmita and she told her mother that her husband, mother in law and sister in law poisoned her and she will die, again the connectivity abruptly lost. The mother of Sushmita along with her son started from Danapur for Howrah without wasting time. At about 11.30 pm, the sister of Sushmita, Ms. Priya Singh, received a call on her mobile and that was from police. The police from Uttarpara Police Station informed her that Sushmita died due to poisoning. Family members started for Konnagar that night only. While they reached on 6.5.2012, at first they went to the Uttarpara police station and from there to Walsh Hospital; Srirampur, where the body of Sushmita was at the mortuary. They found the body was lying at the floor at the courtyard of the mortuary. The body was nearly naked, only her private parts were covered with a sheet. The family members bribed mortuary assistant in the tune of Rs. 2600 for arrangement of ice. They also noticed cut and bruise marks on her earlobes and face. Santosh Kumar Singh or his family members were not present in the hospital. From Walsh Hospital, they proceeded for Uttarpara police station after reaching there they found Santosh Kumar Singh was gossiping with a police officer just sitting in front of the officer at the office of the said police station sitting in a chair. The said officer later identified as Mr. Shaw an Assistant Sub Inspector of Uttarpara Police Station. He suggested the family members to make the complaint at Police Station of Bihar instead at Uttarpara police station. Santosh Kumar Singh even warned them in front of police personnel and said I will pay you money to settle the issue. On 7th of May, the father of the deceased made a written complaint in Hindi, which was refused by the police personnel at the Uttarpara police station. The said police officer Mr. Shaw and other police officers said the family members “if you do not submit your complaint in English or I will let the husband of the deceased; Santosh Kumar Singh free” and pressurized them to accept for a dictated complaint by the police. Then they were asked to come next day; 8th May for the copy of FIR (first information report). Later, they received the copy of the FIR. A case has been initiated by Uttarpara Police Station vide Uttarpra Police Station Case No. 152/12 dated 7.5.2012 under sections 498A/ 304B of Indian Penal Code. Mr. Ashok Dhar, Sub Inspector appointed as Investigating Officer. The accused are Santosh Singh, Lilawati Devi, Pappia Singh and Seemanta Ram. It was evident from the FIR that the police intentionally changed the names of the accused (Pappia Singh instead of Pappi Singh and Seemanta Ram instead of Semanta Bag) and even recorded the mobile numbers of the accused as the contact numbers of the complainant.

On 7th of May at morning the family members reached at the Walsh Hospital, at 11 am, an executive magistrate, Mr. Sujoy Kumar Sikdar made an inquest over the body but not from close proximity as reported he made inquest from a distance of more than 15 feet. A police officer; Mr. Ashok Dhar was present during the inquest who later identified as investigating officer of the case. Previously, an unnatural death case has been initiated on 5th of May vide Uttarpara PS U/D Case No. 59/12 dated 5.5.12.  Dr. DP Ghosh performed post mortem examination over the body on 7.5.12 and body was handed over to the family for cremation.

The daughter of Sushmita was admitted to Seva Sadan at Rishra, Hooghly on 6th of May. She was administered with oxygen and drips, her condition was not stable. On 8th of May while Sushmita’s family was engaged at police station to receive the copy of the FIR and other formalities, the mother in law of Sushmita and an accused of the case visited the nursing home and discharge the baby by furnishing personal bond, thereafter she was staying with the child at her daughter’s place.

Our fact finding revealed that, Sushmita was brought to Uttarpara General Hospital where doctor expressed their inability to treat the patient and Santosh took her at Arogya Niketan, a nursing home situated at Uttarpara at 8.42 pm on 5.5.12. She was brought by Santosh Kumar Singh (husband), her admission was for unknown poisoning but Santosh Kumar Singh verbally informed the attending doctor that poisoning was due to consumption of rat killing poison. She died at 10 pm on the same date. Sushmita was admitted under Dr. Kaushik Bhowmik but Dr. Bhowmik failed to examine her as at that time he was out of station. Dr. Shomojit Saha attended the patient. He informed us that the heartbeat was more than 100, blood pressure was abnormal and atropine has been charged for 6 times after admission of Sushmita. She was closely monitored but her condition not got stability. She was feeling drowsy and restless. Doctor not identified marks of injuries as preoccupied to save the patient.

The neighbors at Konnagar stated as:-

Mr. Pappu, a vegetable vendor and a distant relative of Santosh Kumar Singh said the family was corrupt, the father in law of Sushmita was working in a nearby factory and he was disappeared after receiving his retirement benefits and that was a huge amount and Leelawati Devi; the mother in law was involved with his disappearance. Santosh Kumar Singh and his mother were resisting Sushmita from intermingling with other neighbors. Torture was going on for last few days, the employees of Gas Godown which was just next to the house rescued Sushmita many a occasion from barbaric physical torture. Santosh made frequent demands for money from his in laws. Bank account of Shibu Malik (one of Santosh friend) has been used for receiving money.

Mr. Bishnu Choudhury an employee of Gas Godown said we are working here from morning 7 to 1 pm in the afternoon. Frequently we heard lament of Sushmita due to physical torture upon her. It was usual affair and many a time we rescued her while she was beaten by her in laws and husband while pin down her in courtyard. Similar incident happened on 5.5.12.

Mr. Paras, a civil constructer and a relative of Santosh said we do not maintain any relation to his family as the family was known for their notoriety and arrogance. On 5th May at 6.30 evening I heard that Santosh was calling a taxi for carrying Sushmita while asked for reason he said that she consumed poison, Paras accompanied Santosh and ailing Sushmita, and she vomited once inside the taxi and not in a position to speak and losing her consciousness inside the taxi only. First she was brought to Uttarpara Hospital, but the doctors at Uttarpara Hospital opined that it was very late, then she has been brought to Arogya Niketan, attending doctor at Arogya Niketan tried his best but in vain. Paras also informed that the baby of the deceased is with the Santosh’s mother and sister and they are visiting places at neighborhood. 

Kirity Roy
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
Balaji Place
PIN- 712203
Tele-Fax - +91-33-26220843
Phone- +91-33-26220844 / 0845
e. mail :

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