The murderers of union leader Dr Datta Samant will have to spend rest of their lives in jail with the Bombay High Court dismissing their appeals.
A division bench of Justices BH Marlapalle and AV Mohta on Tuesday dismissed appeals filed by Ganpat Bamne and Vijay Thopte challenging their conviction by the sessions court.
The HC has sentenced Sanjay Devkar to one year’s rigourous imprisonment under the Arms Act. Additional public prosecutor Pradeep Hingorani said, “Firearms were seized from Devkar, hence he played role in Samant’s murder.”
In 1997, four persons fired indiscriminately on Samant’s Tata Sumo, some 300m from his bungalow at Powai. He died on the spot whereas his driver was seriously injured.
On July 25, 2000, the sessions court had convicted Thopte, Bamne and Arun Londhe for life and acquitted Devkar for lack of evidence. Thopte and Bamne had challenged their sentence in the HC, which came up for hearing in 2008. The state too filed an appeal against Devkar’s acquittal. But it was learnt that Thopte had jumped parole in 2005. Thus, the hearing was delayed by more than a year.
The HC summoned former commissioner of police D. Sivanandhan and Pune commissioner of police Satyapal Singh who then made efforts to trace Thopte. He was arrested on May 20 in connection with an extortion case.