Sikand murder: Court defers sentence to ex-army officer

April 30th, 2008 - 7:26 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) A city court Wednesday deferred till May 2 the sentencing of Lieutenant Colonel (retd) S.J. Choudhary, who has been convicted for murdering Krishan Sikand here in 1982. Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal deferred the sentencing on the Tihar Jail superintendent’s official communication that Choudhary was not well and could not be brought ot the court.

The court also asked the medical superintendent of the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital to submit a detailed report on Choudhary’s health.

Meanwhile, defence counsel pleaded before the court for a copy of Monday’s judgement, which was refused by the court.

Counsel also pleaded that a family member should be allowed to meet Choudhary, but the court declined, saying it does not have the power to grant such a permission.

“You need to seek the permission from the Tihar Jail superintendent to meet the accused,” said Sehgal.

On Monday, the court found 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 penalty 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 speedier probe.

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 was 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 and 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.

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