Two years after a youth was killed in a clash outside Hotel Aroma, additional district and sessions judge KK Kareer on Thursday pronounced all eight accused guilty of culpable homicide, punishable by up to life term. The quantum of sentence would be out on Friday.
However, in a major embarrassment to the police, one of the convicts escaped the courtroom before he could be taken into custody. The escapee — Sukhjit Singh, 29, of Phase 11, SAS Nagar — was on bail.
The other convicts, all of whom are now in jail, are Harsimranjeet Singh, 28, resident of Sector 44; Chandan Singh, 24, Sandeep Kumar, 27, and Gautam Singh, 23, of Burail; Anand Singh, 27, and Mahavir Singh, 25, of Sector 41; and Prashant Kumar Dabral, 31, a resident of Sector 49.
The case hinged on one eyewitness after the complainant and other witnesses turned hostile. “It was upon identification by the eyewitness (Parminder Singh) that we proved the case,” said public prosecutor Atul Sethi. “The complainant (security guard Dilshad Ali) had turned hostile and we are seeking perjury proceedings against him.”
It was on January 12, 2012, just past midnight when 28-yearold Harminder Singh alias Harry was killed in a brawl. An MBA student, he had recently returned from Ireland.
Police said accused Harsimranjeet had returned from Canada and had started ‘Bites’, an eating j oint in Sector 48, while all other accused worked for him; he had taken them out for an ice-cream treat.
While entering, the group collided with victim Harry, and Harry dropped his ice-cream. This led to a brief argument. After purchasing ice-cream for themselves, the group again met Harry outside the hotel and a heated argument ensued.
As per the police, Harsimranjeet initially told his accomplices to back out and allegedly pushed Harry, resulting in him falling.
As Harsimranjeet walked towards hi scar, Harry ran towards the group with a baseball bat. The fight restarted and Harry got injuries that led to his death. Harsimranjeet and the others fled in their Ford Endeavour, while another Mahindra Scorpio was left behind.
During recording of defence witness, Sukhjit produced Roohbir Singh, who claimed that Harry was crushed under the wheels of the Endeavour as they were trying to flee after the clash.
But the theory did not hold against the police version that Harry had died of assault.
There was CCTV footage that gave vital clues, but was not attached to the case, which led to questions.