Sentencing in Sikand murder case Wednesday

April 29th, 2008 - 4:24 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) A city court is likely to announce Wednesday the quantum of sentence to lieutenant colonel (retd) S.J. Choudhary, who has been convicted for murdering Krishan Sikand here in 1982. Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal Monday held Choudhary guilty under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under Sections 3 and 4 of the Explosives Act.

The sentence can vary from death sentence to life imprisonment.

The case dates back to Oct 2, 1982, when a parcel bomb sent by Choudhary killed Krishan Sikand at his Sunder Nagar residence.

The prosecution alleged that Chaudhary was angry because his divorced wife had decided to move in with Sikand and the two had planned to get married.

Chaudhary was arrested soon after the crime.

After the arrest and the filing of the charge sheet, the trial began May 31, 1984 and the process of recording evidence continued for 15 years.

Despite all odds, the victim’s 98-year-old father H.D.Sikand continued to make attempts for a faster probe.

“I was close to Mother Teresa through whom I approached then prime minister Indira Gandhi. The case was immediately transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The agency in no time caught the accused and solved the case,” Sikand told IANS over phone.

Sikand, who has been advised rest, communicated through his grandsons Samir Thapar and Sanjay Sikand who actively followed the case for 26 long years.

“We are happy that justice has finally prevailed but the legal system should be improved so that people don’t have to wait for that long,” said Sanjay, sitting in his car showroom at Janpath.

During the prolonged trial, the family approached the Delhi High Court several times to expedite the proceedings. The case involved documents running into a few thousand pages.

The CBI had also alleged that the bomb used in the murder was made in Pakistan and had been seized by the Indian Army following its victory in the 1971 war.

The investigating agency examined 76 witnesses.

Chaudhary, who was out on bail, pleaded innocence. Nine witnesses have been examined in his defence.

In 2006, Chaudhary filed an application to get the case transferred to another court.

The high court dismissed the plea. It also observed that the “96-year-old father of the deceased had been in pursuit of justice for so many years and was yet to come to terms with his son’s brutal murder”.

It then asked the trial court to decide the case “as expeditiously as possible”. Finally, in March, the court wrapped up the final arguments in the case.

The case had got stuck in 2006 as the judge hearing the matter in the Patiala House courts here was transferred to the Tis Hazari courts.

The petitioner had then approached the high court seeking transfer of the case to the same judge as she had partly heard the arguments. The high court allowed the plea and the case was transferred to Tis Hazari. Subsequently, the judge again got transferred to the Patiala House courts but the case remained with her.

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