Kandasamy Ramaraj claims he is innocent and will appeal against the verdict in Dilson case

A fast track court here on Friday sentenced retired Army officer K. Ramaraj to life for the murder of a 13-year-old boy in July last for trespassing into an army residential compound here.

Ramaraj on July 3, 2011 opened fire on Dilson, who, along with a group of boys from a neighbouring slum, sneaked into Old Fort Glacis Officers' Enclave near Island Grounds to pluck some fruits.

The Fifth Fast Track Court Judge, R. Radha, held Ramaraj guilty of murder under Section 302 and screening or concealing evidence under Section 201 of IPC and provisions of the Arms Act.

Besides the life sentence, the court sentenced him to undergo three year's imprisonment for offences under the Arms Act. The sentences will run concurrently. The court also slapped a fine of Rs. 60,000, of which Rs. 50,000 is to be paid to Dilson's mother Kalaivani as compensation.

Ms. Radha said, “The death of the boy due to fire arms injury is established by the prosecution through ocular evidence and recoveries from the scene of crime.”

“The cumulative circumstances let in by the prosecution lead to the irresistible conclusion that it is this accused who did the crime and tried to screen the same. Further, from the oral and documentary evidence…, the prosecution has established that the accused had opened fire, causing the death of Dilson,” the judge said. She noted that there was no valid licence then for the rifle used in the crime.

The Fort police initially registered a case but the investigation was transferred to the Crime Branch-CID. The CB-CID, which arrested Ramaraj, said in its charge sheet that he was allowed to occupy a house at Officers' Enclave on Flag Staff House Road for three months after he retired from service on April 30, 2011.

He was allotted a rifle with description of .30 BA Springfield NSP while in service. Its licence expired on March 12, 2008, but he applied for renewal only on November 29, 2010.

Dilson 13, residing at C Block, Indira Gandhi Nagar, Pallavan Salai, opposite Island Grounds, and his friends Sanjay and Praveen used to enter the residential enclave for picking or collecting almonds from the garden. They were warned or and chased out of the premises by watchmen on some occasions.

Last July, at about 1.30 pm, Dilson scaled the compound wall of the quarters, while Sanjay stood on the wall and Praveen was on the pavement outside the compound. Infuriated on seeing the boys, the retired officer, who had warned Dilson and his friends in the past, opened fire from his rifle from the balcony of his residence situated 100 feet away.

When the judge asked Ramaraj if he had anything to say on the quantum of sentence before the verdict was pronounced, he said he was innocent and did not want to say anything else.

For Ms. Kalaivani, happiness over the verdict was tempered by the sorrow of her irreparable loss.

“After several days, we have got justice. Monetary compensation is not a big matter, but what is more important is that justice has triumphed at last,” she said.

She added: “No amount of compensation can make good the loss of my son, who was very intelligent and will not return again.”

Ramaraj later said, “I will file an appeal in due course.”