One of six accused convicted of rape
Kolkata: A court here on Tuesday pronounced one of the six accused guilty of rape in the sensational Ranaghat nun rape case of March 2015, while convicting all the six of criminal conspiracy and dacoity.
The city sessions court would announce the quantum of punishment for all the six on Wednesday.
Additional Sessions Judge Kumkum Singha convicted a Bangladeshi national on charges of raping a septuagenarian nun in the convent and made it clear in her judgment that it was not an incident of gangrape. While delivering the judgment, Singha termed the incident as shameful and expressed regret as Bengal has always been the place where Sister Nivedita and Mother Teresa had worked for the upliftment of the poor and the downtrodden. "The lady who was raped was also a nun and worked for the people. So such a crime on her is a matter of shame," she added.
She noted that the charge of gangrape has been established against only Nazrul Islam. The statement of four eye witnesses of the crime and the saliva and semen matches have ruled out the involvement of others in the rape case. Nazrul, along with four other accused — Milan Kumar Sarkar, Ohidul Islam, Selim Sheikh and Khaledar Rahman, were all found guilty of robbery. The sixth accused Gopal Sarkar, a resident of Habra in North 24 Parganas, was found guilty of harbouring the five criminals at his residence. Apart from Gopal all the other accused are residents of Bangladesh.
It is learnt that apart from harbouring the criminals, the blueprint for the operation of looting the convent was also made at Sarkar's residence. "The accused were invited there to attend a wedding ceremony. He offered shelter to the miscreants in exchange of money and so his involvement in the criminal conspiracy is evident," said a senior official of the CID who had investigated the case. All the six accused were also found guilty of criminal conspiracy for committing dacoity at the convent under Gangnapur police station area.
The nun was raped at the convent on March 14, 2015, where six persons barged in for committing dacoity. They decamped with cash from the safe of the convent. One accused is absconding.
The trial was shifted from a court in Ranaghat to Kolkata in May 2016 by Calcutta High Court on a petition by the nun.
The nun, who had relocated to Delhi following the incident, had sought transfer of the case stating that she feared for her safety as the accused allegedly had strong links in Ranaghat. The victim had given her confessional statement in Patiala Court a few days after the incident.
The prosecution had charged all the accused with gangrape, dacoity and criminal conspiracy among others. Public prosecutor Anindya Raut said: "The judge has taken into consideration the statement of the eyewitnesses who had said that Najrul alone was involved in the rape. We will be getting the final judgment on Wednesday and accordingly decide on our next course of action."
As many as 42 witnesses deposed before the court during the trial. There were four eyewitnesses in the incident — three of her fellow nuns and one of the security guards at the convent.