A district court in Uttar Pradesh sentenced petrol-pump owner Pawan Kumar Mittal alias Monu Mittal, the main accused in the murder of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) sales manager S. Manjunath, to death on Monday. The other seven accused in the case were sentenced to life in jail.
Manjunath, a sales officer with the Indian Oil Corporation and an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, was murdered on November 19, 2005 at Lakhimpur Kheri in UP. He was shot dead because he had attempted to expose an adulteration racket.
A day after his murder, Manjunath's body was recovered from a car in Maholi area in the neighbouring Sitapur district. Two of the accused, Rakesh Anand and Vivek Sharma, who had gone to Sitapur to dispose of the body, were caught there.
In Bangalore, Manjunath’s parents thanked the judiciary and the police at what seemed the end of a two-year emotional roller coaster. An emotional Shanmugam, Manjunath’s father, told reporters, "I am happy that the main accused has been sentenced to death. This is a lesson for all racketeers and criminals. I thank the public prosecutor, the investigating officers and the judge. The judge is God. We are satisfied and happy with his order."
Manjunath's mother Premila Shanmugam thanked the judge for the quick verdict but was geared for bigger battles. "We won’t get our son back, but will continue the fight if any of the accused go to the High Court or the Supreme Court," she said. The death sentence is subject to confirmation by the high court.
Manjunath’s younger brother, Raghavendra called the verdict a victory for “middle-class families like ours. We are really proud that the system worked this time."
Jaishanker, managing trustee of the Manjunath Shanmugam Trust, too, cheered the verdict. “We were looking for justice and not revenge," he said.