7 killed over non-withdrawal of FIR in buffalo theft case

The Supreme Court has confirmed the death penalty awarded to two persons who wiped out seven members of a family in a Bihar village and commuted the sentence to life imprisonment for the third accused.

“In respect of A1 and A2 … the case falls into the category of rarest of rare cases where culpability has assumed the proportion of extreme depravity and the appellant-accused are a perfect example of bloodthirsty, scheming and hardened criminals who slayed seven innocent lives to quench their thirst for revenge … evolving out of a fellow citizen’s refusal to abstain from resorting to the machinery of law to protect his rights. The entire incident is extremely revolting and shocks the collective conscience of the community,” said a Bench of Justices H.L. Dattu, S.J. Mukhopadhaya and M.Y. Eqbal. The ruthlessness of the appellants was reflected in the burning alive of young, innocent children and the wife of the informant in the dark of the night, the cause being non-withdrawal of an FIR he filed for theft of his buffalo against Jagat Rai (A1) and Deepak Rai (A2), who committed the “cold-blooded murder in a pre-ordained fashion without any provocation whatsoever,” the Bench said.

“From the record, we gather that only family members of the informant have come forward to depose as the entire village must have been shocked at the ghastly murders and in such circumstances would not have come forward to testify against the appellants, who had already translated the threats given to the informant at a village panchayat into a shocking reality.”

The Bench, however, commuted the death sentence awarded to accomplice Bachcha Babu Rai to imprisonment for the rest of his life.