All the four accused in the Bhaskara Karanavar murder case were convicted of the charges, including murder and conspiracy, by Mavelikara Additional Sessions (Fast Track) Court judge N. Anil Kumar on Wednesday. The sentence will be pronounced on Friday.
Karanavar's daughter-in-law and first accused in the case, Sherin, 27, was convicted of charges under Indian Penal Code Sections 302 (murder); 114 (abettor present when offence is committed); 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy); 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence); and 394 (voluntarily causing hurt while committing robbery).
The other three accused, second accused Basith Ali, 25, alias Bibish Babu of Kurichi, Kottayam; third accused Nidhin, 28, alias Unni of Kalamassery; and fourth accused Shanu Rashid, 24, of Kochi; were charged with IPC Section 449 (trespassing into house to commit offence punishable with death) apart from the sections under which Sherin was charged.
The judgment, which spanned 277 pages, was based on 87 circumstantial evidences and statements of over 50 witnesses.
Bhaskara Karnavar, a U.S. returnee, was found murdered in his house at Cheriyanadu in Chenganoor on the morning of November 8, 2009. Sherin, wife of Karanavar's second son Binu, was arrested within two days while the other three, who were allegedly friends of Sherin and who were contracted to kill Karanavar after he cancelled a property will in Sherin's name, were nabbed from Karnataka in the first week of December.
The trial began in mid-March with Special Public Prosecutor K.M. Rajagopala Pillai appearing for the prosecution, while Sherin was represented by Suresh Babu Thomas and Suresh Mathai.
Sherin, who was given bail by the High Court, had the bail cancelled on Wednesday on account of her conviction and was shifted to the Alappuzha Women's Jail. The other three, who were in remand at the Mavelikara sub-jail, will continue there as of now.
Earlier, the court allowed the accused to comment on the judgment, following which Sherin pleaded that her husband was ill and that she, an orphan, had a four-year-old child to look after. The other three prayed that the fact that they were the sole breadwinners of their families be considered while pronouncing the sentence.