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Punjab and Haryana high court upholds life sentence to one, acquits two

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2020 12:27 AM IST

2008 Hisar murder case

The Punjab and Haryana high court has upheld life sentence for one person, while acquitting two others in the murder case of a Hisar man in July 2008.

As per police, 20-year-old Sandeep alias Ajju was abducted from the wedding ceremony of his elder brother, Prince, and later shot dead near Raipur village on the outskirts of the town. His bullet-riddled body was found the next day.

The high court has upheld life sentence for Sandeep Sheokand, a local youth, who as per the prosecution had an old enmity with Sandeep. The court, however, acquitted Vijender alias Mota and Dinesh Kumar, both of whom were awarded life sentence by a trial court.

Four others — Ashok, Anil Kumar, Rakesh alias Rocky and Shamsher Singh — who were convicted of harbouring the accused were also acquitted by the high court.

The trial court had sentenced them four years in jail. The first information report (FIR) in the case was registered in July 2008 and the district and sessions court had convicted these seven persons in a May 2014 judgment, which was subsequently challenged in the high court.

As per the victim’s family, Sandeep Sheokand, along with some other youths, came to the wedding venue at Urban Estate on July 19, 2008 uninvited and took away Ajju.

His body with four bullet injuries was recovered the next day.

The court observed that entire case was based on circumstantial evidence. However, the court noted that the recovery of the weapon was effected on the basis of disclosure statement of Sandeep Sheokand.

“No independent witness was produced by the prosecution to prove the charges against the co-accused that they had harboured the prime accused,” the court observed, further adding that it was necessary to establish commission of an offence; harbouring or concealing the person known or believed to be the offender; and such concealment must be with the intention of screening him from legal punishment.

“In the present case, all the ingredients are lacking. The evidence produced by the prosecution is insufficient … even as all the ingredients are necessary to be proved,” the court said further observing that chain of events in the case of two others convicted of murder was also incomplete.

Gopal Kanda’s election challenged in HC

The Punjab and Haryana high court has issued notice to Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) leader Gopal Kanda and the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a plea challenging Kanda’s election from Sirsa assembly segment in the October 2019 polls.

The petition has been filed by one Gokul Setia, who fought as an independent and lost by a slender margin of 602 votes.

The petitioner has alleged that Kanda indulged in ‘corrupt practices’ in order to secure votes and win the election. The petitioner has also raised some other technical issues regarding filing of nomination papers by Kanda, it has been learnt.

The high court bench of justice BS Walia has sought response from all respondents, including Kanda, by February 13.

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