Madurai

Life sentence for 4 confirmed in Dalits murder case

The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday confirmed the conviction and life sentence imposed on four Caste Hindus for murdering two Dalits at Sennagarampatti near here on July 5, 1992 and acquitted 22 others.

Wrongly convicted

Partly allowing criminal appeals filed by 26 people against the trial court verdict, a Division Bench of Justices M. Chockalingam and M. Duraiswamy held that the trial court had wrongly convicted all the accused though the prosecution had proved the case only against four appellants.

The judges found M. Ramar (41), S. Devadas (51), K. Chokkanandi (39) and N. Asaithambi (38) guilty of waylaying a bus in which the Dalits – Ammavasi and Velu – were travelling and attacking them with deadly weapons owing to enmity between them over taking a temple land on lease.

It set aside the conviction and the double life imprisonment imposed on 22 others, including C. Krishnan alias Veeranan (72), V. Andichamy (68), V. Sivanandi (65), A. Ambalam (59), T. Ayyavoo (56), M. Nagendran (50), R. Sethu (50), J. Sanmargam (50) and M. Ayub Khan (38) for want of sufficient evidence.

The Bench said the trial court had rightly acquitted all the 26 persons of charges under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act because the police had included these charges ten years after the murder by obtaining additional statements from witnesses.

It was also pointed out that one of the prosecution witnesses had filed a petition in the Principal Seat of the High Court in Chennai in 2002 to include the provisions of the SC/ST Act.

Consequently, the High Court directed the police to reinvestigate the matter and include the provisions, if necessary.

One other prosecution witness had filed a petition before the Madurai Bench in 2007 to transfer the case that was pending trial before an Additional Sessions Court here to some other district on the ground that the accused in the case were trying to win over the witnesses.

Case transferred

Allowing this petition too, the Bench transferred the case to a Sessions Court in Karur on August 31, 2007. The Karur court on August 4, 2008 imposed double life sentence, to be undergone concurrently, on 26 people apart from one who died pending trial and hence the present criminal appeals.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 6:08:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/Life-sentence-for-4-confirmed-in-Dalits-murder-case/article16188290.ece

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