A local court on Friday sentenced two people to life imprisonment after finding them guilty under Sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC in an acid attack case.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the accused, which will be given as compensation to the victims’ families.
The court of additional district and sessions judge PP Singh held Hardeep Singh and Jagwant Singh guilty of attacking a girl and her male employer with acid in September 2011, following which the girl had died and the face of her employer got disfigured and he also suffered loss of vision in an eye.
It was in September 2011 that Swatika and Shefali, along with their employer Rakesh Rekhi, were on their way to Chintpurni in Himachal Pradesh. As they stopped at a petrol pump near Kharar, accused Hardeep Singh and Jagwant Singh, came on a motorcycle carrying a can full of acid and splashed the same on the girls and Rekhi.
The court convicted the accused on Wednesday and the quantum of sentence was pronounced on Friday.
The detailed judgment of the case is awaited. Prosecution lawyer Satnam Singh Kaler said, “This is perhaps the first case in the district where life imprisonment has been awarded under Section 307 of the IPC.
Both the accused have been awarded life imprisonment for murder (Section 302) as well attempt to murder (Section 307) and the sentence will run concurrently.”
The case which went on for around four years, saw 36 witnesses deposing in the case, including the complainant, Sherkhan. Also nine doctors and 10 police officials deposed. The most crucial evidence was a CD containing an apology from one of the accused.
In 2012, Rekhi’s wife Prabha Rekhi was approached by the well-wishers of the accused and a meeting was arranged. On August 10, 2012, Prabha was in court for the hearing of the case, when she met Hardeep Singh in a police van, where the latter apologised for what he had done.
Prabha was wearing goggles fitted with a spy camera and the entire episode was recorded, following which a CD of same was submitted in the court.
It was argued that the accused had confessed to have committed the crime, leaving no room for doubt. Also the CCTV footage from the petrol pump where the acid attack took place made the case airtight.
Rakesh Rekhi used to run an immigration consultancy in Phase 1, SAS Nagar, where Swatika, a resident of Uttarakhand and Shefali, a resident of Himachal Pradesh, used to work.
The accused, Hardeep and Jagwant, would turn up at Rekhi’s office without a reason and the latter had thrown them out on a couple of occasions.
The accused had threatened Rekhi of dire consequences.
On September 1, 2011, Rekhi, Shefali and Swatika were travelling in a car to Chintpurni in Himachal Pradesh. Rekhi’s manager Sherkhan and two other employees were in another car.
When both cars stopped at the petrol station near Kharar, accused Hardeep and Jagwant came there on a motorcycle and threw acid on Rekhi and the girls. Sherkhan witnessed the entire episode from another car and became a complainant.
In the attack, Rakesh Rekhi suffered multiple injuries, lost an ear and an eye; while Swatika died at the PGIMER in Chandigarh.