Anindita Pal Dey, the woman lawyer who had killed her husband, also a lawyer, in 2018, was sentenced by a court near Kolkata today. Hers is no ordinary story of crime. The investigation by the police showed her taste was as diabolical as her final criminal act. She used to look into Google and share on Facebook links to news reports detailing different cases where wives killed their husbands.
Braving police interrogation, Anindita Pal Dey had almost established the theory of suicide of her husband Rajat Dey, a lawyer. One of the heads of the Bidhannagar Commissionerate was sceptical. When he, along with some of his colleagues, started interrogating Anindita, she broke down, Anindita finally confessed she had strangled her husband Rajat with the wire of a mobile charger. She then wrapped the body in a bedsheet to pass it off as a case of suicide.
West Bengal Police detailed the murder and the investigation on the department’s Facebook page yesterday before Anindita’s sentence was announced today. One of the officers who had interrogated Anindita said, “At first, we thought it was a suicide. But soon enough, I started thinking deeper. It seemed Anindita should be grilled further, as somewhere, there were inconsistencies in her answers. The truth came out only after that.”
Sentenced to life imprisonment
Anindita admitted that she had murdered her husband. She was charged with murder, conspiracy and misappropriation of evidence and convicted four days ago.
Today, the Barasat Court in North 24 Parganas sentenced Anindita to life imprisonment under Sections 302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Avvaru Ravindranath, the then deputy commissioner (detective department) of Bidhannagar City Police, said she broke down during interrogation and confessed.
“The contradictions in her statement became apparent after the autopsy report confirmed that Dey’s death was caused by strangulation,” Ravindranath had said on Monday, before Anindita was sentenced.
The crime, the alibi and false evidence
On 24 November 2018, the body of Rajat Dey, a 34-year-old Calcutta High Court lawyer, was found in their living room of a flat in Newtown. Apparently, he had died of suffocation. A preliminary inquiry began into how he had choked.
Rajat’s wife Anindita is a lawyer by profession too. The two were about the same age. He practised at the Calcutta and Bombay High Courts. Anindita has been claiming it to be a case of suicide since the beginning. The couple had one child.
For a few months before Rajat’s death, the partners had not been on good terms, the investigators found out. They dug out the history of Google search and WhatsApp chat of the wife and the dead husband. In a conversation, Anindita had likened marriage to a ‘public toilet’. She was found to have extensively searched on Google cases where wifes had murdered husbands.
Police further found a news link that Anindita had shared on Facebook, where a woman killed her husband, cut his body into pieces, cooked biryani with that meat and fed it to the mason. According to the police, Anindita went ahead with the plan after studying thoroughly how the murder could be passed off as suicide.
Anindita changed her statement seven times in seven days during police interrogation. Initially, she had claimed she was sleeping in another room at the time of the incident. When there was an alleged power cut, she woke up. She told the police she came out of the house and saw Rajat sitting on the floor in the living room, with a bedsheet wrapped around his neck. As soon as she pushed him, he fell on the floor lifeless. Frightened, Anindita claimed, she rushed to the neighbour’s flat, she claimed. She told the neighbours Rajat had committed suicide by hanging from the ceiling of their living room.
But then, before the police, Anindita made more than one theory to describe and explain the incident. The cops were at one point left thoroughly confused by her mutually conflicting statements of ‘innocence’. They pondered whether it was possible to hang a man 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 90 kg. They recreated the crime scene using a dummy to see if that was possible. The crime reconstruction exercise was inconclusive.
However, the senior officers began suspecting foul play when they came to know that Anindita had sent their child and pet dog to her father’s house in Barahanagar a few days before the incident.
Second, Anindita had made no effort to send Rajat to a hospital and had assumed after claiming to have discovered her husband collapsing on the floor that he was dead.
Incidentally, Anindita had first told her father-in-law Sameer Dey about Rajat sitting on the floor just like that. Subsequently, she informed her brother Abhik. Sameer Dey and Abhik Pal reached Anindita’s flat. But Abhik did not inform the police. He did not even try to take Rajat to a hospital.
Sameer Dey first informed the police about the matter and insisted throughout that his son could not have ended his own life, “Rajat did not commit suicide. He was murdered,” he said again and again.
An autopsy report showed that Rajat had a ligature mark on his neck, the nature of which suggested the use of a rope, thin wire or silk string for strangulation. It was not possible to asphyxiate him by wrapping a thick bedsheet around the neck, the forensic doctors said in the report.
The police started seeing the matter in a new light. The investigation revealed that Rajat had been strangled by the wire of the mobile charger. His neck was then wrapped in a bedsheet confuse the police.
Anindita’s Facebook posts and her WhatsApp chats also come in handy during the probe. The relationship of the couple had come to a virtual end months before the murder.
Investigators were as yet unsure of the motive for the murder. The top officers of Bidhannagar Commissionerate continued to interrogate Anindita. She yielded eventually and confessed to killing Rajat, police told the court. She was convicted on 14 September and sentenced today.