Verdict reserved on appeals filed by John Pandian, others

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved verdict on a batch of appeals filed by John Pandian of the Tamizhaga Makkal Munntera Kazhagam and seven others challenging the Madras High Court judgment awarding life imprisonment in the Vivek murder case in Coimbatore on August 17, 1993.

The High Court had upheld a lower court order convicting and sentencing the accused, who included Venkataramakrishnan, a mill owner. A Bench of Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice Cyriac Joseph reserved verdict after marathon arguments from counsel for the appellants and the State.

The prosecution case was that Vivek, Venkataramakrishnan and Sunitha were classmates of a college. Venkataramakrishnan fell in love with Sunitha, but she turned him down and married Vivek.

He wanted to eliminate Vivek and marry Sunitha. He hatched a plot with others, engaged mercenaries and murdered Vivek.

It was the contention of the appellants that there was absolutely nothing to connect them to the murder. The prosecution misdirected its investigation and, in the process, the appellants, who had nothing whatsoever with the case had to be implicated. There was no proper test identification parade to identify the accused and no explanation was given for non-examination of eye witnesses. The prosecution justified the conviction and the sentence of life imprisonment and said the High court's judgment should not be interfered with.

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