The Supreme Court on Monday imposed death sentence to three AIADMK workers for burning a bus in 2000 in which three college girls were charred to death.
A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam upheld the sentence that was pronounced by the Madras High Court in 2007. The HC had confirmed the trial court judgment that found the three workers guilty.
The three victims, Kokilavani, Gayathri and Hemalatha, were students of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore. They were travelling in the bus with 44 other students when the vehicle was burnt to flames on February 2, 2000 at Ilakkiampatti near Dharmapuri. The incident took place while the AIADMK workers were protesting against the conviction of its leader J. Jayalalitha in a criminal case.
Opposing the accused’s appeal before the SC, the prosecution claimed there was evidence to prove the involvement of the AIADMK officials. The witnesses identified the accused during the parade and their role was supported by evidence.
On February 16, 2007, a trial court in Salem had awarded death sentence to the three after finding they were found guilty of murder, attempt to murder under the IPC.
The Madras High Court had on December 6, 2007 had confirmed the capital punishment and the sentence of imprisonment imposed on 25 others.
Hailing the verdict families of the victims said the ruling would act as a deterrent to violence against innocent people.
"My daughter may not come back today. But the verdict, though delayed, will act as a deterrent against persons trying to resort to such a crime in the future," K. Kasiammal, mother of Hemalatha said.
She said any mercy petitions should not be entertained "considering the gravity" of the crime.
(With PTI inputs)