The Delhi High Court on Friday reduced the death penalty of a businessman, awarded by the trial court, to life imprisonment for poisoning his wife and three minor daughters as a way out of the misery of financial losses in business four years ago.
A Division Bench headed by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said that this case does not fall under the category of "rarest of the rare" cases and declined to confirm the death penalty awarded by the trial court against Raj Kumar Khandelwal for the murder of the four people.
"The accused did not murder his wife and daughters for any personal gain. He killed them as he thought that by doing so he was giving deliverance from the misery," observed the Bench in a verdict on his appeal.
"That he did not want to inflict any pain on his children and his wife is evidenced by the fact that he fed them with dihydroergotamine, obviously to induce a slumber and lessen the pain," the Bench also said.
According to the prosecution, Khandelwal, proprietor of Jyoti Industries in Gaya, Bihar, had taken a loan of about Rs 12 lakh from Canara Bank in 2004 and ran into losses due to financial mismanagement of his firm.
Due to the financial crisis, Khandelwal was under mental and emotional disturbance. He made up his mind to get rid of his wife and three minor daughters, the prosecution said.