The four convicts will have to undergo an additional imprisonment for six months if they fail to pay the fine, the judge ordered.
Kolkata: Nearly seven years after the worst hooch tragedy in West Bengal of recent times in which claimed 172 lives, the mastermind of the spurious liqour network: Noor Islam Fakir alias Khora Badshah and his three aides: Nazmul Laskar, Dukhe Laskar and Khairul Laskar were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Alipore Court on Friday.
In his judgment sixth additional district judge Parthasarathi Chakraborty also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 each of them who were convicted by him on Thursday under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 273 (sale of noxious food or drink) of the the Indian Penal Code and many other charges of Bengal Excise Act following a trial which continued for around six years.
The four convicts will have to undergo an additional imprisonment for six months if they fail to pay the fine, the judge ordered. Special public prosecutor Santanu Dutta said that a prayer was made for the maximum punishment. He expressed his satisfaction over the judgment. The convicts' family members broke down at the court premises after the judgment. Badshah who was present in the courtroom alongwith three othe convicts however claimed that he was innocent.
“I have been convicted in a wrong way. Those who were guilty got scot-free. I did not produce liquor there,” he alleged. Lawyer of the accused Abu Bakar Dhali informed that the judgement would be challenged at the Calcutta High Court. Besides the three convicts, Badshah was also found guilty of section 327 (voluntarily causing hurt to constrain to an illegal act) and 328 (causing hurt by means of poison) of the IPC.
Six other accused: Badsha's wife Shakila Bibi, Ayub Ali Laskar, Giyasuddin Laskar, Khairunnesa Bewa, Moinuddin Gazi and Rabiul Laskar were acquitted by the court for lack of evidence however. Two more accused: Atiul Laskar and Yasin Jamadar, who were chargesheeted alongwith the ten, are still absconding. In December of 2011, 172 villagers died after consuming hooch from dens run by Khora Badsha and his gang at Mograhat, Usti and Mandirbazar in South 24 Parganas.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee who came to power only few months ago ordered the criminal investigation department to probe what became infamous as Sangrampur hooch tragedy.
She had also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakhs for the family of each victim. The decision had triggered a massive uproar then. During its probe the state detective agency arrested 10 accused including Badshah.