Apex court upholds death penalty for multiple murders

April 3rd, 2008 - 11:05 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) The Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty awarded to a youth who killed three teenaged siblings of his friend a decade ago despite living with them for four years like a family member. A bench of Justice P.P. Naolekar and Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta ruled that enormous crimes like multiple murders must entail death sentence.

Ratifying the death sentence for Prajeet Kumar Singh of Bettiah town in West Champaran district of Bihar, the bench said: “The murder was committed for a motive which evinces total depravity and meanness”. It fell in the category of “the rarest of the rare” cases, fit for death penalty, it added.

The nine-page ruling of the apex court was delivered Wednesday but released Thursday.

In April 1998, Prajeet went berserk at the dead of the night at the place of his friend Prakash, slaughtering his younger brother Deepak, 16, sister Kiran, 15 and cousin Pooja, 8.

In his slaying spree, he never thought for a moment that he was butchering the same people with whom he had been staying for four years as a family member for carrying out studies.

Though Prajeet was paying Rs.400 to his friend’s family for his stay and food, he had not paid it for months altogether, causing a due of Rs.4,000.

It was apparently a gentle reminder for payment of the dues from Prakash’s father that infuriated Prajeet and he went on to commit the killings.

While upholding the noose for Prajeet, the apex court bench said, “The enormity of the crime is writ large. He caused multiple murders and attacked three others.”

“The brutality of the act is amplified by the manner in which the attacks were made on all inmates of the house and in which the helpless victims were murdered,” the bench added.

“The brutality is indicative of the fact that the act was diabolic of the superlative degree in conception and cruel in execution and does not fall within any comprehension of the basic humanness, which indicates the mindset which cannot be said to be amenable for any reformation,” the judges said.

“In view of the aforesaid facts, we are of the view that there would be failure of justice in case death sentence is not awarded in the present case. The case falls in the category of the rarest of the rare cases. The Session Court and the High Court were justified in imposing death sentence on the accused,” the bench ruled.

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