Dara Singh plea for reduced sentence rejected

He was sentenced to life in prison for killing a trader in Mayurbhanj, apart from murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons

January 11, 2022 04:02 am | Updated 04:02 am IST - BHBANESWAR

The Orissa High Court on Monday dismissed a petition from Dara Singh alias Rabindra Pal Singh seeking modification of his life imprisonment in the case related to murder of a Muslim trader in Mayurbhanj district in 1999.

Dara Singh is also undergoing life imprisonment for the murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons.

The convict had sought relief in the case pertaining to the Seikh Rahaman, a garment trader. On August 26, 1999, Dara Singh had attacked the Rahaman with an axe as latter refused to pay ‘Chanda’ (subscription). The victim was later burnt alive in his garment shop after Singh and his accomplices had looted the shop.

Then Sessions Judge of Mayurbhanj, Baripada upon completion of the trial, had acquitted all other accused persons except Dara Singh, who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.

Dara Singh had moved Orissa HC stating that he had already undergone more than 21 years in custody and considering his long custody, the punishment should be modified to such period undergone.

A division bench of Orissa HC comprising Chief Justice S. Muralidhar and Judge B.P. Routray however rejected the plea. The bench said, “There is no merit in the said submission. Keeping in view the nature of assault, the brutality associated therewith and the circumstances of the crime where no prior enmity existed, and the victim was unarmed and defenceless, there is no case made out for any leniency as far as the sentence is concerned.”

Earlier on January 22, 1999, Dara Singh had led a mob which set ablaze a station wagon in which Graham Staines and his minor two sons sleeping. All three were charred to death, with the mob preventing their escape from the fire. The heinous crime had evoked sharp reactions in India and outside.

A local court in Bhubaneswar had handed out capital punishment to Dara Singh. Subsequently, the Orissa HC commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court later upheld the Orissa HC’s decision.

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