CBI will soon approach the Supreme Court to appeal against the Bombay High Court’s recent decision to commute the death sentence of six convicts in the ‘Khairlanji’ killings.

Official sources said the CBI will file a Special Leave Petition in the Apex court challenging the order of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, which on July 14 had commuted the death sentence of the six convicts to 25 years imprisonment.

They said the appeal will be filed after getting an approval from the central government.

Four members of the Dalit family - Surekha Bhaiyalal Bhotmange, her daughter Priyanka, sons Sudhir and Roshan - were brutally killed by a mob in Khairlanji village on September 29, 2006, over a land dispute with upper castes, provoking violent protests across the state.

The court while commuting the death sentence had noted that there was no caste factor involved in the killings and that all the accused had no previous criminal record. It said mitigating and aggravating circumstances were more powerful in the case.

Justice A. P. Lavande of the Nagpur bench of the court declined to accept the plea that it was a case of caste-based vengeance.

“All the accused are ordinary villagers and the incident took place since they felt that they were falsely implicated in the beating of prime witness Siddharth Gajbhiye by Bhotmanges,” Justice Lavande said.

Six of the people accused of killing the children were given death sentence by a lower court in September, 2008.

Another two were sentenced to life term for murdering Mr. Bhotmange’s wife.

Justice Lavande had pronounced the judgement while Justice R. C. Chavan, who is on an assignment at the High Court in Mumbai, joined him via video conference.

Mr. Bhotmange, who lost all his family members, termed the verdict as unfortunate and demanded that the Maharashtra government file an appeal to enhance the sentence of all the six convicts in the case.

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