Nashik (Maha), Jan 20 ½Six convicts were today sentenced to death by a court here for the murder of three Dalit men over an inter-caste love affair in Sonai village of Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra in January 2013.
Additional District and Sessions Court Judge R R Vaishnav also slapped a fine of Rs 20,000 on each of the convicts.
Their “brutal” act was a “disgrace for humanity”, worse than a “devils act”, and, therefore, they had forfeited the right to live, Special Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told reporters quoting the verdict.
He said the court awarded the capital punishment, as demanded by the prosecution, considering the brutality involved in the crime.
Half of the fine amount will be given to the victims kin as financial aid, Nikam said.
The police had beefed up the security around the court premises since morning as a large number of people gathered there for the verdict.
On January 15, the court had convicted Popat alias Raghunath Darandaleï¿½(52), Ramesh Darandale (42), Prakash Darandale (38), Ganesh alias Pravin Darandale (23), Ashok Navgire (32) and Sandeep Kurhe (37) for the offences of criminal conspiracy and murder under the Indian Penal Code, among other charges.
Ashok R Falke was acquitted by the court as the prosecution could not prove the conspiracy charge against him.
Sachin Sohanlal Gharu (24), Sandeep Thanvar (25) and Rahul Kandare (20) were killed at Sonai village on January 1, 2013 and their mutilated bodies were found in a septic tank.
According to the prosecution, the convicts were irked by a lover affair between Sachin, a Dalit, and a girl from the Darandale family, who are upper-caste Marathas.
The convicts include the father, elder brother and other relatives of the girl. The victims belonged to the Mehtar community.
Sachin and his friends, who worked as sweepers, were summoned by the Darandale family on January 1 evening, ostensibly to clean a septic tank.
The police found Sachins decapitated body, with limbs severed, the next evening. The mutilated bodies of Sandeep and Rahul were found on January 3.
The killings created an uproar in Maharashtra and then state home minister R R Patil handed over the case to the Criminal Investigation Department. The CID eventually filed a 982-page charge sheet.
The trial was transferred to the Nashik court as the victims families said a free and fair trial may not be possible in Ahmednagar district.
Altogether 54 witnesses were examined in the case.
While convicting the six persons, the court mainly relied on circumstantial evidence, prosecutor Nikam had earlier said.