In a unique case, the Bombay High Court awarded one more life sentence to a murderer after a trial court sentenced him to double life imprisonment for kidnapping and killing an 8-year-old school boy here in 2011.
Upholding the trial court verdict of double life sentence for the murderer of Kush Kataria, the Nagpur bench yesterday awarded one more life sentence holding prime accused Ayush Nirmal Pugalia (26) guilty under Section 364-A of the IPC (kidnapping for ransom).
On April 4, 2013, a trial court here had awarded double life sentenced to Pugalia for brutal and cold-blooded murder of Kush, son of a city businessman Prashant Kataria.
A division bench comprising justices Arun Chaudhari and P N Deshmukh, while allowing state appeals, described the trial court verdict as “legally correct and proper” for the offences of kidnapping, murder and destroying evidence of offence and also upheld the prosecution’s claim that the kidnapping was done for ransom.
However, the High Court did not accept the prosecution appeal to award death sentence to Pugalia and rejected the state government’s appeal for enhancing the life sentence to capital punishment.
The High Court felt that this was not the ‘rarest of the rare’ case and accused cannot be said to be a menace to the society.
The trial court had also turned down demand of prosecution and society at large to hang Pugalia for extreme cruelty shown in eliminating Kush and had awarded double lifer considering his young age, lack of criminal past and failure of prosecution to pin-point motive behind this diabolic murder for ransom.
The High Court also dismissed an appeal filed by prime accused Pugalia against his conviction and upheld the double life sentence awarded to him for kidnapping and another for murdering the child and said the two life sentences will go consecutively.
The third one imposed by HC he will go concurrently with the sentence given by the trial court.
During hearing on the point of sentence for this offence, Special Public Prosecutor Rajendra Daga pointed out that Section 364 A, after amendment provides death sentence for such serious offences.
However, the counsel for the accused urged for leniency on account of his young age.
Kush Kataria, a student of a local school was allegedly kidnapped and brutally murdered on October 11, 2011 by Pugalia to extract ransom to the tune of Rs 2 crore from his father. Pugalia wanted to spend the money on his girlfriend and continue with his lavish lifestyle.