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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Punjab liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda, 23 others get life for Dalit’s murder

All the accused were present in the court when the judgment and quantum of punishment were pronounced.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2019 08:14 IST
Gaurav Sagar Bhaskar
Gaurav Sagar Bhaskar
Hindustan Times, Fazilka
File photo of Shiv Lal Doda, the main accused.
File photo of Shiv Lal Doda, the main accused. (HT FILE)
         

Liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda and 23 others were on Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal 2015 murder of his former employee, Bhim Sain Tank.

The additional district and session judge (ADSJ) of Fazilka, Jaspal Verma, also sentenced one of the accused, Vicky, to four years’ rigorous imprisonment, and acquitted another, Pardeep Kumar.

All the accused were present in the court when the judgment and quantum of punishment were pronounced.

According to Surinder Pal Singh Tina, special public prosecutor, who is also an additional advocate general, Punjab, in a 230 pages judgment, the court awarded life imprisonment to all convicts for charges of 302 (murder) and seven imprisonment for 120-B (criminal conspiracy).

The judge rejected the prosecution’s demand of capital punishment for accused, including Shiv Lal Doda and Amit.

Tank, a Dalit man who was Doda’s employee for several years, had left the job and ran a small dhaba on the Abohar-Malout road at the time of the incident.

He got into a dispute with Davinder Singh, another employee of Doda’s, and was summoned to Doda’s farmhouse on December 11 to discuss the matter.

Bhim took Gurjant Singh, alias Janta Lahoria, with him to the farmhouse, where the discussions turned violent. Amit with other accused attacked Tank and Singh -- Bhim’s hands and legs were chopped off; Singh lost one hand and his foot was slashed.

Gurjant called up his brother from a cellphone and the latter reached the farmhouse to rescue his brother. Gurjant ended up as the key witness in the case.

Bhim later died at a hospital in Amritsar. Gurjant remained hospitilised for several months. He appeared in the court through the course of the hearings/

The judge set aside the demand of Rs. 10 crore as a compensation for the family of Tank and Singh. The court also dismissedthe charges levelled against accused under SC/ST Act, Tina said.

“Weapons used in the murder were recovered from an employee of Doda, while several accused among the 26 booked were also found to be his employees. The court accepted the charges of conspiracy of the inhuman crime hatched by Shiv Lal and Amit and held them guilty,” Tina added.

A total of 60 witnesses appeared, and nine of them turned hostile, during the course of the trial.

“However, following permission from the Supreme Court, two of the hostile witnesses including Gurjant Singh Janta and his brother Ranjit Singh reappeared in the case as a witness and further supported the charges levelled by the prosecution,” Tina said.

Welcoming the court’s verdict, Tank’s mother Kaushalya Devi she would approach the higher court to demand the death penalty to the convicts. “My son was killed in the most inhuman manner and the perpetrators deserve exemplary punishment,” she said.

Sanjeev Kamboj, counsel for Shiv Lal and others, also said the judgment would be challenged in the high court.

Doda had contested as an independent candidate against present Punjab state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar in 2012 from Abohar and secured more than 35,000 votes.

First Published: Aug 08, 2019 23:55 IST

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