A City court on Thursday convicted eight men in the ‘Aroma murder case’ in which an MBA student, who had come for vacation from Ireland, was killed after a petty dispute in January 2012.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Kuldeep Kumar Kareer held the accused guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, rioting with deadly weapon, and unlawful assembly. The quantum of sentence will be pronounced on Friday.
Harminder Singh, 28, had gone to the Aroma coffee shop in Sector 22 on the night of January 12, 2012. The accused were also there. While Harminder was coming out, he accidentally brushed his shoulder with Harsimranjeet, one of the accused, and dropped his ice cream, leading to an argument and a minor scuffle.
Harminder took out a baseball bat from his car, but was overpowered by the eight men. After beating him mercilessly with sticks and his baseball bat, the accused fled, leaving behind their Scorpio SUV. Harminder was taken to PGI where he was declared brought dead.
Reportedly, all the accused fled in another SUV, Endeavor, which was later recovered. According to the police, this SUV ran over the victim.
The police initially booked the accused for murder in the FIR lodged at the Sector 17 police station, but it was converted into a case of homicide when investigation showed that the accused never intended to kill Harminder.
In the chargesheet, the police named Sukhjit Singh, a Mohali resident; Harsimranjeet Singh, a resident of Sector 44; Chandan Singh, Sandeep Kumar, Gautam Singh, all residents of Burail; Anand Singh and Mahavir Singh, both residents of Sector 41; and Prashant Kumar Dabral, a resident of Sector 49.
Dilshad Ali, a security guard at Aroma, was the complainant in the case, but turned hostile. He told the court that he was inside the hotel and did not witness the incident.
Atul Sethi, public prosecutor, said the statement of prosecution witness Parminder Singh, who was also visiting the restaurant, proved really helpful in proving the case. Parminder, who was an eyewitness, identified the accused in the court, said Sethi.
No one from Harminder’s family was present in the court. His mother Harmesh Kaur, reached on the phone, said she was satisfied with the judgment, but nothing could bring back her son. She said that her husband Charan Singh died last year, as he could not bear the court proceedings when allegations were made against his son by the defence counsel.