A week ago, two middle-aged men were found guilty of honour killing and handed life terms by a city court. The court observed that the boy had been killed by the men because he was a different caste and had married one of their female relatives, despite objections.
The convicts, the father of the girl Satpal Singh and her uncle Neeraj, were also slapped with fines of Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000. Satpal was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and Neeraj was charged with murder and possession of an illegal firearm,” said advocate Suresh Sisodia who is representing two co-accused in the case.
The duo was sentenced by additional sessions judge Neena Bansal Krishna on June 6. The judge, however, till Friday had failed to supply a copy of the judgment and order to the accused, Sisodia said, delaying Neeraj and Satpal from filing an appeal.
“The accused have a right to get a copy of the judgment convicting and sentencing on the same day, as per the law,” says retired Delhi High Court Judge SN Dhingra.
The case involves two college students — a Thakur girl and a scheduled caste boy — who fell in love while they were in Meerut college. The girl, who had suffered from polio in her childhood, later defied her family to marry Ashok Kumar. The couple later had a baby girl.
Their happiness, however, was short lived.
The girl’s father Satpal and her uncle Neeraj tracked the couple down in late 2012. Once they had found their targets, the duo started making “threats to kill Ashok as he (Satpal) felt humiliated in his society due to this marriage,” the police told the court.
The couple then moved to Delhi’s East Sagarpur area to try and get away from Singh and Neeraj. The girl there started working as a clerk in a defence company; while the guy Ashok was still looking for employment. On January 16, 2013, five men cornered Ashok near a railway line in Sagarpur and shot him dead.
Neeraj was the first of the five gunmen to be identified and arrested. A gun was recovered from him, and ballistics matched its bullets to those found in Ashok’s corpse A manhunt was launched for one of Neeraj’s associates, 25-year-old Govind. The Delhi Police Commissioner had also declared a reward of Rs 30,000 for any information leading to his arrest .
Then, on January 12, 2015, the police received information about Govind’s whereabouts and located him in hiding in Uttam Nagar. A seven-member team lay in wait in the evening hours of the same day and apprehended him.
During the trial, the woman turned hostile and refused to identify her uncle’s accomplices. As a result, Govind and Neeraj’s other aide Rinku were acquitted for want of evidence.
Neeraj is currently in Tihar Jail, while his lawyers await a certified copy of the court’s order so they can prepare his appeal. The court is on its annual summer leave and is due to start working again in a fortnight.