Liquor baron Doda, nephew, 22 others get life term for Dalit’s murder
Fazilka additional district and sessions judge Jaspal Verma held 25 of the 26 accused guilty, awarded life term to 24 and four-year rigorous imprisonment to one Vicky, whereas one Pardeep Kumar was acquitted.Updated: Aug 09, 2019 01:26 IST
Liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda, alias Sholly, his nephew Amit and 22 others were sentenced to life imprisonment by a local court here on Thursday in connection with the murder of 27-year-old Dalit youth Bhim Sain Tank, who was brutally murdered in 2015.
Fazilka additional district and sessions judge Jaspal Verma held 25 of the 26 accused guilty, awarded life term to 24 and four-year rigorous imprisonment to one Vicky, whereas one Pardeep Kumar was acquitted.
On December 11, 2015, Bhim and his associate Gurjant Singh, who worked for Doda, were called to their employer’s farmhouse in Abohar to settle some matter where they were attacked with sharp-edged weapons. Bhim’s limbs were chopped off and he died at a hospital in Amritsar.
Gurjant, the key witness in the case, survived the attack with grievous injuries and remained hospitalised for a long time. The incident had invited a strong public protest.
All convicts were present in the court when the judgment and quantum of punishment were pronounced in the afternoon.
According to special public prosecutor Surinder Pal Singh Tina, who is also an additional advocate general, Punjab, the court awarded life imprisonment to 24 accused for charges filed under Sections 302 (murder) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy.
The court also imposed a fine of ₹10,000 on each of the convicts under Sections 326, 149 and 120-B of the IPC, he said.
Tina said the judge rejected prosecution’s demand of capital punishment for the accused, including Shiv Lal and Amit.
While pronouncing the judgment, the judge set aside the demand for ₹10-crore compensation to the families of victims. Also, the court dismissed the charges levelled against the accused under the SC/ST Act, Tina said.
After the judgment, the public prosecutor said the call details of Doda and Amit suggested that prime accused Harry had called up Amit before and after the murder.
Document seized by the police from Doda’s farmhouse revealed that Bhim was his employee and one of the convicts Harry also worked for the liquor baron.
“Weapons used in the murder were recovered from another employee of Doda while several accused among the 26 booked were also found to be employees of Doda. The court accepted the charges of conspiracy of the inhuman crime hatched by Shiv Lal and Amit and held them guilty,” Tina added.
Total of 60 witnesses had appeared, of which nine turned hostile.
“Following permission from the Supreme Court, two of the hostile witnesses — Gurjant Singh Janta and his brother Ranjit Singh — reappeared in the case to support the charges levelled by the prosecution,” said Tina.
Welcoming the court’s verdict, Tank’s mother Kaushalya Devi said she would approach the higher court to seek death penalty to the convicts. “My son was killed in the most inhuman manner and the perpetrators deserve exemplary punishment,” she said.
Meanwhile, Sanjeev Kamboj counsel for Shiv Lal and others, said the judgment will be challenged in the high court.
Doda had contested the assembly elections against present PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar in 2012 from Abohar and had secured more than 35,000 votes.
First Published: Aug 08, 2019 22:52 IST