Twenty-two years after the death by stabbing of a Chembur couple in the 1993 riots that followed the Babri Masjid demolition, the Bombay high court upheld the life sentence given to four people for the crime.
A division bench of Justice Vijaya Kapse-Tahilramani and Justice Ajay Gadkari dismissed the appeal filed by Chembur residents Suhas Panchal (46), Chandan Lokhande (38), Sanjay Mandavkar (54) and Sunil Mandavkar (42) challenging their conviction. The trial itself took place 15 years after the incident and the trial court order came in 2011, after which the four were sent to jail.
The prime witnesses were the dead couple’s children, who were school students at the time of the incident.
“It is to be noted that the ghastly incident took place in their house which they witnessed, has had imprint on their minds even after period of 15 years,” said the judges. “We are of the considered opinion that the quartet are the perpetrators of the crime and are guilty of the offence for which they are charged with.”
The incident dates back to January 10, 1993. Gani Shaikh used to live in Chembur with his wife Rabiya and four children. Shaikh was warned by Mandavkar to vacate his house and leave a few days before the incident. On the night of the incident, the family woke up to stone-pelting by a mob. Rabiya asked the children to hide under the cot. The accused tried to drag Shaikh out, and when Rabiya intervened she was stabbed to death with a sword. The children ran out to the road and tried to get help.
A police van that was passing by came to their help, and took a severely injured Shaikh to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
( Source – PTI )