A court in Punjab on Thursday sentenced 24 people, including liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda and his nephew Amit Doda, to life imprisonment for the murder of a 27-year-old Dalit man, Bhim Sain Tank, in 2015, the Hindustan Times reported.
Additional District and Session Judge of Fazilka, Jaspal Verma, acquitted an accused in the case, Pardeep Kumar, and sentenced another, Vicky, to four years imprisonment.
On December 11, 2015, Tank and his associate Gurjant Singh were attacked with sharp-edged weapons at Shiv Lal Doda’s farmhouse in Ramsara. They had gone to resolve a dispute with Doda when the incident took a violent turn. Tank’s hands and legs were chopped off and Singh lost a hand and his foot was slashed but he survived. Tank died at a hospital in Amritsar. Singh remained hospitalised for several months and appeared in the court through the course of the hearings.
Sixty witnesses appeared during the trial, and nine of them turned hostile in between.
The judge, however, set aside the demand of Rs 10 crore as a compensation for the family of Tank and Singh. The court also dismissed the charges levelled against the accused under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, Special Public Prosecutor Surinder Pal Singh Tina said.
“Weapons used in the murder were recovered from an employee of Doda, while several accused among the 26 booked were also found to be his employees,” Tina was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. “The court accepted the charges of conspiracy of the inhuman crime hatched by Shiv Lal and Amit and held them guilty.”
Tank’s mother Kaushalya Devi welcomed the verdict and said she would approach the higher court to demand the death penalty to the convicts. “My son was killed in the most inhuman manner and the perpetrators deserve exemplary punishment,” she said.
In 2012, Doda had contested as an independent candidate against present Punjab state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar from Abohar and secured more than 35,000 votes.