The Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday upheld the life imprisonment awarded by a Jhajjar court to five convicts for the murder of a sarpanch in 2010. The sarpanch had been murdered just 10 days after he was elected.
Rakesh, 31, sarpanch of Nayagaon village, had been murdered by political rivals in a hospital after his win in the village-level election. A total of 10 convicts had been sentenced to life imprisonment by the lower court.
A division bench of Justices A.B Chaudhari and Kuldip Singh said there was a well-planned conspiracy to kill the victim by the convicts after doing recce of the place where the crime was committed. The killers were hired assassins, the court said.
The life imprisonment of Kuldeep alias Bhandari, Anil, Jyoti Prakash, Arun and the main conspirator Taqdir, who had lost the election to the victim, has been upheld by the division bench. Other convicts Karambir alias Chhota, Rambir, Devender, Naresh alias Neshi and Ashok have been acquitted in the case because of benefit of doubt.
“Accused Taqdir lost elections on 12.6.2010. It appears that conspiracy was hatched, as suspected by Dharambir (complainant), to eliminate Rakesh alias Kala. A robbery of a mobile phone and money was committed and a Santro car was stolen, which was ultimately used in the crime,” the judgment reads.
The counsels representing the convicts in the case had argued that five criminal cases stood registered against Rakesh, the. “We are of the view that if Rakesh alias Kala was facing 5 criminal cases regarding panchayat elections, this does not mean that anybody has got the licence to kill him in the manner it was done,” the division bench said.