The Supreme Court has turned down the remission plea of a man, who has been in jail for 25 years serving life sentence for killing a married couple, saying it would not take a view on the matter as it was a power which could be exercised by the State. The apex court upheld the verdict of Calcutta High Court, which had affirmed the conviction and sentence of contract killer Khokan Giri, while relying on a confessional statement of another accused in a 1991 murder case.
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“The counsel for the appellant submits that he has already suffered incarceration for more than 25 years and, therefore, there should be remission in his further sentence. “This is a power which can be exercised by the State. It would always be open to appellant (Giri) to make a necessary representation in this behalf before the competent authority which can be considered by it. We make it clear that as far as this court is concerned, no view is taken thereupon either way,” a bench headed by Justice A K Sikri said while dismissing the appeal of Giri.
The High Court had affirmed the conviction and sentence awarded to Giri and three others in the case in which a woman had hired him to murder her husband’s paramour in December 1991. As per the FIR, J K Khetwat was allegedly involved in an extra-marital relationship with a woman, who along with her husband was murdered by Giri, who was hired by Khetwat’s wife for a promised fee of Rs 1 lakh.
Giri was convicted in 1999 by a trial court after his accomplice Raju, who turned approver, revealed the details of the murder in his confessional statement. Giri was awarded life sentence, while the others got varying jail terms. In 2006, the Calcutta HC had upheld the trial court’s decision convicting him under sections 302 (murder), 392 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
The convict filed an appeal in the apex court in 2007 contending that the High Court went wrong in giving undue importance to the testimony of Raju and basing the conviction of the appellant in the absence of independent corroborative evidence in material particulars.