A Gaya district court sentenced Rakesh Ranjan Yadav alias Rocky Yadav and two others to life imprisonment for the murder of class XII student Aditya Sachdeva. Rocky’s father Bindi Yadav, a former Gaya zilla councillor, was given a five-year jail term for harbouring the offender and furnishing false information before the court. Rocky is the son of JD(U) MLC Manorama Devi, who has since been expelled from the party. On August 31, Rocky and three others were convicted by the court with Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ) Sachchidanand Singh delivering the judgment in the high-profile case.
So what really happened on May 7, 2016?
In an incident of road rage, 18-year-old Aditya Sachdeva was shot dead by Rocky on May 7 last year following a row over overtaking on the Bodhgaya-Gaya road in Bihar. Sachdeva was a Class XII student who had completed his board examinations and was the son of a businessman.
Police told the Indian Express that at 8:30 pm that day, Rocky was coming back to Gaya from Bodhgaya along with his bodyguard Rajesh Kumar in a Landrover. Somewhere around the Rampur police station area, Rocky got into an argument with the occupants of a Maruti car for allegedly not letting him pass. Sachdeva was one of the occupants of the car who was sitting in the backseat. Witnesses told the police that post a scuffle, Rocky fired at Sachdeva with his licensed pistol, the latter dying on way to the hospital. Rocky is also alleged to have fired at the Maruti car while driving away, leaving a bullet hole in the rear.
How did the case proceed?
Three days after the incident, Rocky (24) was arrested from a dairy farm in Bodhgaya by the Gaya police and a Beretta pistol, registered in his name and used to commit the crime, was recovered. Investigators found that he got the arms license from the Delhi Police licensing unit. He was subsequently sent to 14-day judicial custody by a Gaya court. His bodyguard, Kumar and his father Bindi Yadav were also arrested by the police.
Shyam Sunder Sachdeva, the victim’s father, appealed to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to ensure justice in the case. “Nitish Kumar, if you are serious about getting us justice, please complete a trial in 15 days. Procedural delay will make Rocky and his father stronger and nothing will happen,” he said.
Over time, the case took a turn with several of Sachdeva’s friends turning hostile during hearings in the court. Aditya’s friends Ayush Agrawal, Ankit, Nasser Hussain and Mohammed Kaifi are the four eyewitnesses among 35 witnesses.
According to the case, Aditya was sitting in the middle of the rear seat when a bullet pierced the rear window and struck the back of his head. The four boys had originally asserted Rocky was present on the scene but then later told the court they did not see who had fired the bullet. But the public prosecutor maintained confidence that corroborative circumstantial evidence was present to nail Rocky to the case.
What was the fallout of the case?
It soon turned out to be a high-profile murder case with politicians from the ruling front and the Opposition in Bihar promising justice for the parents of Sachdeva. It reflected high-handedness of a person from an influential and rich family and harassing common people on the road.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met the family of Sachdeva in June last year and directed the police to pray to the court for a day-to-day trial in the case.
“Samajh me nahi atha hai samaj kaha ja raha hai vahan ko side nahi dene par bachhe ka hatya kar diya, (I fail to understand where the society is heading towards, a child was killed for not giving side to a vehicle),” Kumar said expressing shock at the episode.