The Madras High Court on Monday acquitted the prime accused B Chinnasamy in the 2016 Udumalpet Shankar honour killing case, commuting the death sentence to life imprisonment for five other convicts.
In 2016, V Shankar a 23-year-old Dalit engineering student who married C Kausalya an upper caste woman, was hacked to death in front of her by a hired gang in broad daylight at a public place in Tamil Nadu. The gang also injured Kausalya in the attack. P Pandidurai, the uncle of Kausalya at the behest of Chinnasamy and Annalakshmi (her mother) had hired the gang to kill Shankar.
Kausalya too got injured in the attack as she tried to save her husband.
Passing orders on appeals, a division bench of Justice M Sathyanarayanan and M Nirmal Kumar acquitted B Chinnaswamy, father of Kausalya and relieved him from all charges, including that of criminal conspiracy.
The bench sentenced the five other accused to life imprisonment for a minimum of 25 years without any right to remission. Chinnaswamy and the others had been sentenced to death by a lower court in connection with the one of most brutal caste killing in the state which was caught on camera and evoked public outrage.
The High Court also confirmed the acquittal of Kausalya’s mother and two others. The court also ordered release of all those acquitted who are presently under incarceration if their custody is not required in connection with any other case.
On December 12, 2017 the Tirupur district sessions court sentenced six people, including Chinnaswamy to death for the murder.
Of the 11 accused, six were sentenced to death. Three others, including her mother, maternal uncle and a 16-year old relative were acquitted of all charges while two others got lesser sentences.
The Principal District and Sessions Court in Tiruppur had convicted and sentenced to death six accused persons-Chinnasamy, P Jagadeesan, P Selvakumar, M Manikandan, M Mathan alias Michael and P Kalaithamilvaanan.
The court also sentenced two other accused, K. Dhanraj for life and Manikandan to a five year jail term, while acquitting Annalakshmi, Pandidurai and Prasanna.
The convicts had filed an appeal against their sentence in the Madras High Court while the police filed an appeal against the acquittal of three persons.