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Sharda Jain, 5 others get life term

Former Delhi councillor Sharda Jain and five other accomplices get life term for murdering a fellow Congress councillor.

india Updated: Dec 23, 2006 01:50 IST

A Delhi court on Friday sentenced former councillor Sharda Jain, her brother Raj Kumar Jain and four others to life imprisonment for the murder of fellow Congress councillor Atma Ram Gupta in 2002. The court on Thursday had found them guilty of the murder.

The prosecution had demanded death for Jain and the convicts but Additional Sessions Judge Bharat Parashar said the crime did not fall under the “rarest of rare” category — the Supreme Court's benchmark for pronouncing the death penalty. The judge said the life term would serve the end of justice.

"The prosecution had been unable to show any circumstance that the convicted persons can be termed to be a threat to society at large. I am of the opinion no stretch of imagination, the present case can be put in the category of rarest of rare cases," the judge said. The court imposed a fine of Rs 35,000 on Jain and others convicts held guilty for murder.

Soon after the sentence was pronounced, Jain thanked the judge, in a sarcastic manner, on behalf of her two children-- an 18-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son.

The court also sentenced the three Uttar Pradesh Police personnel, Sub-inspector Srinivas Raghav and constables Satender and Rakesh Kumar — convicted of destruction of evidence in the case — to three years rigorous imprisonment.

According to the prosecution, councillor Atma Ram was killed on August 24, 2002 in a village near Ghaziabad at the instance of Sharda Jain who was sharing an intimate relationship with him. The reason was that Atma Ram had started paying more attention to another woman councillor.

The prosecutor in the case, Ram Pyara, while asking for death sentence for the convicts said, “Jain at that time was holding a public office and that such a conduct clearly affects public at large.”

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First Published: Dec 22, 2006 17:12 IST