A Haryana court on Friday awarded death sentence to a personal security officer (PSO) who murdered the son and wife of Additional Sessions Judge Krishna Kant Sharma, in the year 2018.
The order has been passed by Additional Sessions Judge Sudheer Parmar. He held,
"When a 32 years old man being in police service since 2007 and entrusted with security duty decides to misuse his position and utilizes his service revolver to commit a crime, his actions are proof that he is beyond reform and a threat to society at large. Thus, the accused deserves nothing except the extreme penalty of death."
The accused, Mahipal, was a personal security officer for ASJ Krishna Kant. On October 13, 2018, he had taken judge Krishan Kant's wife Ritu and son Dhruv to Arcadia market in Gurugram, where he shot both of them in full public view, following an altercation over the car's keys.
The court observed that the accused person had not only taken away two lives but had also undermined the faith reposed by people in those who are supposed to safeguard them.
"The kind of act leading to murder of wife and young son of a judicial officer has far reaching consequences. It has not confined its adverse effects on the society alone but is fraught with wider ramifications of sending shivers down the spine of holders of judicial office.
…Not only that, his acts have brought defame to the members of police force also who at times protect the people even at the cost of their lives," the court remarked.
The defence counsel had argued that the court should take a lenient view in sentencing Mahipal as he was a first time offender and the act was committed in the spur of moment.
However, while justifying the imposition of capital punishment, the court remarked that when "protectors turn predators", there appears to be no mitigating circumstance for consideration on the question of sentence and the case squarely falls within the ambit of 'rarest of rare cases' doctrine.
"The murder was executed in the most diabolical manner with absolutely no regard whatsoever for human life. A woman and a young boy, both unarmed and trusting towards the accused, were shot mercilessly in full public view. The accused tried to drag the limp bodies and upon failing to do so, brutally pumped more bullets in the victim's body.
…People were shocked at the sheer brutality and remorseless on part of the accused after shooting the victims. The way he tried to drag the body of Dhruv and thereafter kicked him was infernally atrocious and sent shivers down the spine of all bystanders," the court observed.
It is noteworthy that immediately after the fateful event, Mahipal had made an extra judicial confession to ASJ Krishan Kant and Constable Vinay Kumar on phone.
Noting that the both of them had nothing "enimous" to the accused, the court presumed that the extra judicial confession holds evidentiary value.
The court also relied on the dying declaration made by Ritu to ASJ Krishna Kant, which was further corroborated by the then Additional District and Sessions Judge, JS Kundu.
It relied on Prakash & Anr. v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (1992) 4 SCC 225, whereby the Apex Court had held that an oral dying declaration made to family members as the assailants known to the deceased is acceptable where evidence of doctor not showing that deceased was not fit to make any dying declaration.
The prosecution case was further supported by two eye-witnesses who were present at the market when the alleged incident occurred. They had recorded three different video clips of the incident in their mobile phones.
The court relied on these clips, stating that they were "chance witnesses" and had no animus against the accused.
"In the present case there is a direct evidence and certainly motive take a back seat. Video footage of the events which happened just after the incident presents a horrifying portrayal of the ghastly crime. The accused can be seen dragging Dhruv by pulling his one leg in an attempt put him inside the car. He also uttered certain words to both of them as "ye hai shaitaan aur ye hai shaitaan ki maa". All these shows that even after firing at them the accused was not in a mood to spare them which proves that he had already made up his mind to murder both of them," the court said.
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