The Bombay High Court has upheld the conviction of an Andheri resident who murdered a two-year-old girl by shoving a potato in her mouth. The girl was the daughter of a bar dancer who worked for him.
The division bench of Justices VK Tahilramani and SS Jadhav convicted Arun Ghosh, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Sessions Court in 2005.
The victim’s mother, Shilpi Biswas, hails from Kolkata and had come to live at Mahakali Road, Andheri after Ghosh brought her over to give her a job. She and her daughter Pooja began living with Ghosh, his wife, two children and another boy, Ganesh.
Ghosh’s wife Anju, and Shilpi, both worked at Jaibharat Restaurant and Bar as dancers. While Shilpi was at work, between 8 pm and 5 am, Ghosh looked after the children.
Shilpi would give all her earnings to Ghosh keeping nothing for herself. On February 2, 2002, she asked Ghosh for Rs 500 to go to her hometown so she could take her daughter back.
When he refused, the two had an argument and he beat her. He had also thrashed her daughter fracturing her leg.
In the early hours of February 3, 2002, Ghosh called up his wife and ordered her to come home. The bar owner didn’t give them permission to leave, so both women returned home at 5 am.
On their way home, they spotted Ganesh weeping. He told them that Ghosh had murdered Shilpi’s daughter and left the house with his bags and two sons.
He also threatened Ganesh to keep quiet. Inside the house, Shilpi saw her daughter’s body. She immediately alerted the police, who broke open the door. The girl had been choked to death with a potato, which was protruding from her mouth.
Realising that he might flee to Kolkata via the Howrah Express, police intercepted him at the station. They recovered the only key to the door from him.
During the trial, Shilpi told the court she had not lodged a police complaint against the Ghosh as she was unfamiliar with the city.
The court while upholding the conviction on January 30 noted, “The very fact that Pooja was in the custody of the accused when she died, it was incumbent upon the accused to explain the circumstances in which [the victim] died…. The very fact that he had thrust a potato in the mouth of the tender child of 2½ years old and strangulated her is sufficient to infer that he is liable to be punished for an offence punishable under Section 302 of IPC. The accused does not deserve any leniency.”