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HC defers Khairlanji verdict by a month

The much awaited verdict on the 2006 Khairlanji Dalit massacre case was on Tuesday deferred by a month by the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court as one of Judges was pre-occupied with an assignment.



Nagpur: The much awaited verdict on the
2006 Khairlanji Dalit massacre case was on Tuesday deferred by a
month by the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court as one of
Judges was pre-occupied with an assignment.

Justice A P Lavande told lawyers in his chamber that
the judgement would be pronounced on July 14 as Justice R C
Chavan who also heard the matter was on assignment at Mumbai
bench.

Justices Lavande and Chavan had heard the matter on a
day-to-day basis from March 29 and reserved for judgement
before summer vacation.

The accused were not produced in the High Court on Tuesday.
Strict vigil was maintained by police around the court
premises as the matter is sensitive.

Four members of a Dalit family -- Surekha Bhaiyalal
Bhotmange, her daughter Priyanka and sons Sudhir and Roshan --
were killed on September 29, 2006 over a land dispute in
Khairlanji village of Bhandara district in Maharashtra.

Six persons were sentenced to death and two awarded
life imprisonment by a Bhandara court on September 24, 2008.

In March-April this year, the High Court bench had
heard arguments on the confirmation of sentences. The bench
had also heard appeals of CBI, the prosecuting agency, and
defence lawyers.

The CBI had appealed against the lower court`s order
dropping charges under Atrocities Act for lack of evidence and
for enhancement of sentence of two life convicts to death.

The defence lawyers had appealed against the trial
court`s verdict sentencing six accused to death and two to
life imprisonment.

A special court sentenced six to death and two to life
imprisonment in the Khairlanji case on September 24, 2008.

The six facing death sentence are Sakru Binjewar, Ramu
Dhande, Shatrughan Dhande, Vishwanath Dhande, Jagdish
Mandlekar and Prabhakar Mandlekar.

Gopal Binjewar and Shishupal Dhande were awarded life
imprisonment.

The CBI had appealed against acquittal of all the
eight accused under the provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act, saying the victims belonged to a Dalit
family.

Ejaz Khan, the CBI`s counsel, had earlier demanded the
enhancement of sentence for two accused and argued that the
trial court ought to have considered evidence pointing towards
sexual abuse of Surekha and Priyanka.

By dropping atrocity charge against the accused, the
gravity of crime had been substantially diluted, he had said.

Defence lawyers Neeraj Khandewale and Sudeep Jaiswal
had pointed out several discrepancies and omissions in the
evidence.

The lawyers had charged prime witness Siddarth
Gajbhiye with falsely implicating innocent villagers of
Khairlanji with an oblique motive.

PTI

From Zee News

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