The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) is likely to challenge the Gulbarg Society case verdict in the High Court seeking enhancement of punishment awarded by the trial court on Friday.
The court has awarded life imprisonment to 11 people found guilty of murder, while 12 others have received seven years jail and one got 10-year jail term.
Special Public Prosecutor R.C. Kodekar said the “SIT will challenge the lenient sentence awarded by the trial court.”
“We will go to the High Court,” Mr. Kodekar said after the trial court judge P.B. Desai delivered the verdict on quantum of punishment to the 24 people convicted in the mass murder case.
Earlier during the hearing, calling the Gulbarg society massacre as “barbaric and inhuman”, the prosecution had sought capital punishment for the 24 convicts who have been found guilty by the trial court.
The prosecution pleaded that the convicts be “awarded exemplary punishment like death sentence or life imprisonment till death” for the case, which the public prosecutor described as “mass murder as victims were roasted alive.”
“If capital punishment is not considered, they (convicts) should remain in jail till they live,” submitted Mr. Kodekar, appearing for the Supreme Court-appointed SIT, which had reinvestigated the case at the apex court's instance.
“The manner of crime was cruel, barbaric and inhuman as victims' bodies were roasted alive without any provocation and much less in case of women and children who were defenceless,” Mr. Kodekar submitted before the court, presided over by Judge P.B. Desai, a fourth judge who involved in the protracted trial that had begun in 2009.
According to him, out of the 39 bodies recovered after the crime, 20 were that of women and six that of children. Most families of Gulbarg Society lost their kith and kin while three families got completely wiped out losing all members.
It may be noted that after the bloodbath that lasted more than seven hours, only 39 bodies were recovered, while 31 were declared missing — of which one boy was found alive. The remaining 30 were declared presumed to be dead after seven years.
Out of those 30, 14 were women and eight were children.
Besides the public prosecutor, another lawyer S.M. Vora appearing for the victims also demanded maximum punishment for the convicts and submitted that the sentencing of each offence should not run concurrently so that the convicts languish in jail for their entire life.
It may be noted that while convicting 24 of the 66 accused on June 2, the court has dropped the charges of criminal conspiracy and rapes against the accused and acquitted 36 accused for lack of evidence against them.