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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

SC stays execution of Veerappan's aides; put off for another 6 weeks


The ghost of Goose Munusamy Veerappan continues to haunt…

After the high profile hanging of Kasab and Afzal Guru, there was talk of 4 of Veerappan’s aides following……. The news now is that the Supreme Court today stayed the execution of four of Veerappan’s aides until further notice. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir said it was keeping the matter pending since another bench, which has heard an identical plea, has reserved its judgement……………… and that puts off the decision for another 6 weeks enabling another bench to deliver the judgement in another pending matter. The bench noted that the subject matter of the petition was relating to the right of the death row convicts to get their sentence commuted to life imprisonment on account of delay of execution of their death sentence ~ and that refers to the judgement in Devinder Pal Singh case.

Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar is a convict on death row, found guilty of killing 9 bystanders in a 1993 car bombing intended to kill Maninderjeet Singh Bitta, and sentenced to death by hanging.  Whether you call that ‘Cruel or postponement or incorrect’ depends on your individual perspection..

The four - Gnanaprakasam, Bilavendra, Meesai Madhaiah and Simon were sentenced to death for their involvement in carrying out a landmine blast in 1993 which killed 22 people. Their mercy petitions were rejected by the President on 13 February and are presently lodged in a jail in Belgaum, Karnataka.  The counsel for the petitioners is quoted as seeking that the death sentence be commuted since there has been a delay in disposing of their mercy petitions and since they are in bad health and are in their fifties or sixties.  The four involved are : Gnanaprakasam, Bilavendra, Meesai Madhaiah and Simon,  former associates of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan convicted for killing 22 policemen.

The four were part of 124 persons who were arrested in connection with the case and booked under the now defunct Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention Act).  117 of the accused were acquitted. However, seven persons were sentenced to life imprisonment. Of the seven, the Supreme Court took up the case of the four and sentenced them to death in connection with planting the mine. The Supreme Court chose to overrule the lower court’s ruling sentencing the four to life imprisonment and instead modified their punishment to death penalty and had stated that : “They do not deserve any sympathetic consideration. There is no evidence or foundation for the conclusion that they acted under the duress of Accused No.1 (Veerappan). The facts of the present case do not show that the appellants were compelled to fall in line with the criminal activity of accused No.1 or that they joined his group on account of any duress or compulsion. The manner in which the crime was committed clearly shows that any person can contemplate the disastrous effect of blasting of landmines. It is evident that the crime was diabolically planned. The appellants are threat and grave danger to society at large. They must have anticipated that their activity would result in elimination of large number of lives. As a result of criminal activities, the normal life of those living in the area has been totally shattered. It would be mockery of justice if extreme punishment is not imposed. Thus, having given anxious consideration to all the circumstances aggravating and mitigating, in our view, there can hardly be a more appropriate case than the present one to award maximum sentence. We have to perform this onerous duty for self- preservation, i.e., preservation of persons who are living and working in the area where appellants and their group operate.”

The families of these persons however claim that they are innocent.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
20th Feb 2013.
Post almost a reproduction of the article in ‘firstpost.com’ 

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