Journalist acquitted in friend's death case

Jharkhand, June 30: A local court on Monday acquitted journalist Priyabhansu in connection with the mysterious death of his girlfriend Nirupama Pathak, also a journalist, and five years ago.

Following the trial, the court of Additional District and Session Judge Arun Kumar Singh acquitted Priyabhansu in the death case of Nirupama, who was found dead in her house on April 29, 2010.

Based on a complaint registered in the court on the statement of the Nirupama's mother Sudha Pathak, an FIR under sections 376 (Rape), 506 (Intimidation), 420 (Forgery) and 306 (Abatement to commit suicide) of the IPC was lodged against Priyabhansu.

Priyabhansu had surrendered before the lower court on June 5, 2012 in this connection and moved a bail petition in the Jharkhand High Court, which had granted him bail on July 30, 2012.

After 58 days of judicial custody, he was released on August 2, 2012.

The police had also lodged a case against the family members of Nirupama after they found she was hanging from a ceiling fan in her mother's room. According to the post-mortem report, Nirupama was pregnant when the incident took place.

Providing relief to Priyabhansu, the Jharkhand High Court quashed all criminal cases against him in an order on April 30, 2013, prompting Sudha to approach the apex court, which directed Priyabhansu to contest the case in the lower court.

Today's order came after a charge sheet was filed in the lower court in October, 2014 in connection with the case.

Priyabhansu's lawyer Raj Kumar Sinha said the police had lodged a murder case against Sudha on May 2, 2010 and had arrested her, while naming her husband Dharmendra Pathak and elder son Samrendra Pathak for abetting Nirupama to commit suicide.

While Sudha was out on bail, a non-bailable warrant was issued against Dharmendra and Samrendra, who were reported to be absconding, even though they had recorded their statements in the court, the lawyer said.

"This was the reason the police could not file the charge sheet against them even five years after the incident, though Samrendra was working as an Inspector in the Income Tax department in Mumbai," Sinha added.