Rejecting requests for leniency, a city court on Tuesday sentenced all eight convicts in the case of killing MBA student Harminder Singh in the ‘Aroma murder case’ to eight years of rigorous imprisonment and fined them Rs 20,000 each.
Simultaneously, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Kuldeep Kumar Kareer awarded them imprisonment of two and three years under sections 147 (rioting ) and 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon) respectively. All sentences will run concurrently.
The convicts are 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.
Last week, the court had convicted them on the charge of killing Harminder Singh, who had come for vacation from Ireland, after a petty dispute in January 2012.
Harminder 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.
Seeking leniency, counsel for the convicts took the plea that the incident happened on the spur of the moment and that there was no previous enmity. Also, the accused were not armed with any deadly weapons, and Harminder offered them provocation.
However, the court rejected the argument, saying it cannot be oblivious of the fact that “the accused caused as many as 21 injuries on the person of the deceased. They were eight in number while the deceased was alone and not accompanied by anybody. Even if the deceased ran after the accused persons and provoked them to fight, the act of causing so many injuries cannot be said to be justified to persuade this court to take a lenient view”.
Parminder Singh, who happened to be on the spot at that time, was a star witness in the case. While Dilshad Ali, a security guard who lodged the complaint, turned hostile, Parminder Singh stuck to his version and identified the accused.