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Capital sentence upheld by HC

IN A significant verdict the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has upheld the death sentence granted to accused Mulla and Guddu by the Sitapur sessions court in connection with a case, where five villagers held hostage for ransom were later killed on non-fulfilment of the killers? demands.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 01:38 IST

IN A significant verdict the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has upheld the death sentence granted to accused Mulla and Guddu by the Sitapur sessions court in connection with a case, where five villagers held hostage for ransom were later killed on non-fulfilment of the killers’ demands.

The Bench, comprising Justices Imtiaz Murtza and ON Khandelwal passed the above orders while dismissing criminal appeal of the said accused and upholding the verdict of the additional sessions judge Sitapur given on April 3, 2005 whereby Mulla and Guddu were inter alia awarded death sentence for killing five persons (including a woman) by cutting their throats with some sharp-edged weapon. These included Hari Kumar Tripathi, Chhotakey, his son Gaya Ram, Nanhkey andGanga Dei.

According to the prosecution, eight accused persons on the night of December 21, 1995, caught hold of some villagers in Ishaganj under police station Sandana Sitapur and started enquiring about their status/ property/ land. In the meantime, some more villagers came that way and they too were held up at gunpoint and asked the same question.

Later on, the assailants who were equipped with firearms started beating some of the villagers with rifle butts and while holding five of them as hostages, they called upon the rest of them to go and bring Rs 10,000 each or else they (hostages) would be killed.

However, since no ransom money could be collected, the victims met their awful fate, as their throats were cut open with some sharp-edged weapon and their bodies were recovered later.

Initially, four accused persons namely Mulla, Guddu, Tula alias Ladkannu and Asharam were challaned under sections 147, 323, 365 and 302 IPC.

However, trial of accused Asharam and Tula alias Ladkannu was separated one by one for certain reasons while the trial of Guddu and Mulla continued together and resulted in capital sentence to both of them.

After going through the evidence and material on record the trial court came to the conclusion that the case fell under the “rarest of the rare category” and the capital sentence was accordingly awarded to both the accused.

While the sessions court referred the death sentence for confirmation to the High Court, the accused persons preferred an appeal against the verdict.

The High Court, while dismissing the appeals, upheld the session court’s verdict.

Government advocate Ashwani Kumar Singh conducted the case on behalf of the State.

First Published: Mar 04, 2006 01:38 IST