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    Triple life term for 3 accused

    KOCHI: The Ernakulam Fifth Additional Sessions Court on Monday awarded triple life term and a fine of Rs 1.3 lakh each to the three accused in the murder of 60-year-old John Kuzhikkandam of Kothamangalam. Delivering the sentence, Sessions Judge V Vijaya Kumar said the sentences shall run concurrently. The convicts were sent to the Viyyur Central Prison. The court held that based on the ‘Swami Sradhananda case’ the accused were not entitled to claim or get remission of sentence before serving at least 20 years of imprisonment. The convicts are Basil Kuriakose of Kuttambuzha, Rajesh of Eramallor and Jacob Esthappanos alias Kunjumon.The court awarded life imprisonment under Section 302 (murder), 449 (house-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and an additional five year rigorous imprisonment under Section 392 (robbery) of the IPC. The court further held that the fine amount would be given to John’s wife and children equally as compensation.The case is that on January 1,2004 a money lender John Kuzhikkandam of Kothamangalam was strangulated by the three accused. The postmortem report revealed that John died in the combined effect of strangulation and abdominal injuries. The accused left the body of John under a cot in the house. They stole his camera, mobile phone, wrist watch and scooter. Prosecutor P G Manu submitted that the accused had entered into a criminal conspiracy for robbery by killing John. He argued that the murder was preplanned and brutal and comes under the category of ‘rarest of rare’ cases.The court held that the prosecution succeeded in proving the crime beyond doubts.