Tamil Nadu

High Court hears case on a holiday

Reserves verdict in appeals preferred by two death convicts

Despite Saturday being a holiday for the Madras High Court, Justices P.N. Prakash and C.V. Karthikeyan sat through the entire day to hear marathon arguments on a ‘Referred Trial’ as well as individual appeals preferred by two convicts sentenced to death and three imprisoned for life.

They were convicted by a Mahila Court in Tirupur for having raped and burnt to death an 11-year-old girl after murdering her father and burning his body in October 2015 just because he had reportedly failed to repay a loan of ₹52,000.

Though the Saturday’s court proceedings were conducted with the assistance of skeleton strength of court staff and with no one being there even to ring the bell before lunch break, the judges heard arguments advanced by State Public Prosecutor R. Rajarathinam during the forenoon session and came back after lunch to hear defence counsel till 5 p.m. They, finally, reserved their verdict on the appeals challenging the May 14 judgment of a Mahila Court in Tiruppur.

Mahila court verdict

Since it was a case of double murder, Mahila Court judge A. Mohammed Jiyaputheen had sentenced the convicts, P. Selvam alias Koolai Selvam alias Subramanian, 45, and V. Rangaraj, 41, to death for the “gruesome” murder of the minor girl and to life imprisonment for murdering her father. The other three — M. Deivasigamani, 41, K. Nagaraj, 29, and S. Anandan alias Anandam, 29, — were sentenced to life alone since they were not party to the girl’s murder. Though the Palladam police had filed a charge sheet against prime convict Selvam’s wife S. Bagatheeswari alias Easwari, 40, for having allegedly destroyed evidence, the Mahila Court had acquitted her for want of sufficient evidence. After imposing capital punishment on two of the convicts, the trial judge had referred the matter to the High Court.

Appearing on behalf of one of the convicts, advocate R. Sankarasubbu contended that the entire prosecution case rested on circumstantial evidence. Mr. Rajarathinam claimed that the medical evidence clearly proved that the girl had been burnt alive since the doctors had found presence of smoke in her lungs. Her father, however, was murdered before her and his body was burnt in an attempt to destroy evidence, he added.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 2:17:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/high-court-hears-case-on-a-holiday/article19526736.ece

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