The Supreme Court has upheld the life imprisonment awarded to two sadhus (monks) and a disciple of Vadtal Swaminarayan sect by the high court, finding them guilty of murdering Swami Gadadharanand, who was chairman of the Vadtal temple committee.
Five accused, four of them monks, were sentenced to death by Nadiad sessions court for murdering Swami Gadadharanand. Later, on appeal, the high court upheld the conviction of four accused and had acquitted one. The high court commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. Three of the convicts then approached the apex court in appeal.
The monks were accused of kidnapping Swami Gadadharanand from Navli Gurukul in Anand on May 3, 1998.
They mixed sedatives in his soft drink and strangulated him after he fell unconscious and then took the body to Dungarpur village in Rajasthan where it was burnt to destroy evidence.
“It is not a case of finding of guilt recorded in absence of any legal evidence or contrary to the evidence available on record. We find that the finding of guilt against the appellants is inescapable,” the bench comprising Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice AM Khanwilkar said, while upholding the high court judgment convicting the accused.
Read the Judgment here.