SETTING aside a lower court order, the Allahabad High Court Friday sentenced BJP MLA from Hamirpur constituency, Ashok Singh Chandel, and eight others to life imprisonment in a 22-year-old murder case. A district court in Hamirpur had acquitted them in the case in 2002 for want of evidence.
“While hearing the appeal filed by the government, a division bench of Justices Ramesh Sinha and Dinesh Kumar Singh sentenced Chandel and eight others to life imprisonment,” said Additional Advocate General, Krishna Pahal. “I have to study the full judgment of the case. Chandel and others were not present in the court when the judgment was pronounced. All the accused are out on bail.”
Chandel is a four-term MLA and had been BSP MP once, said BJP’s Hamirpur district president, Sant Vilas Shivhare. Reacting to the judgment, Chandel’s lawyer Ajay Sengar said, “We will file a special leave petition against the HC’s judgment.”
“I am satisfied with the judgment and finally got justice after almost two decades,” said businessman Rajeev Shukla, the victims’ family member.
In 1997, five members of Rajeev’s family, including his elder brothers Rakesh and Rajesh, were killed. Chandel and his associates were booked in the case.
“One of the accused, Jhandu Arak, had died around four years back and file of another accused, Rukku, was separated from others since he was on the run since the murder. Later, Rukku surrendered in 2003 and a local court sentenced him to life imprisonment in 2017,” said Rajeev.