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SC Acquits Six Death Row Convicts, Asks Maharashtra Govt to Give Rs 5 Lakh Each as Compensation

A bench headed by Justice AK Sikri came down heavily on the shoddy investigation and the prosecution in the matter and directed the Chief Secretary of the state to initiate an inquiry to bring erring police officers to book.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:March 5, 2019, 2:08 PM IST
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SC Acquits Six Death Row Convicts, Asks Maharashtra Govt to Give Rs 5 Lakh Each as Compensation
Illustration of Supreme Court. (Network18 Creatives)
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New Delhi: In a severe indictment of the Maharashtra government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered it to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to six men who were falsely implicated in a murder case and sentenced to death.

A bench headed by Justice AK Sikri came down heavily on the shoddy investigation and the prosecution in the matter and directed the Chief Secretary of the state to initiate an inquiry to bring erring police officers to book.

Ankush Maruti Shinde, Rajyappa Shinde, Raju Mhasu Shinde and three others were held guilty of gang rape and killing five members of a family during a robbery in June 2003. Of the six accused in the case, the trial court in Nasik sentenced Ankush, Rajyappa and Raju to death, and the Bombay High Court also confirmed their punishment in 2007.

While deciding the appeal of the trio in 2009, the Supreme Court held the crime to be barbaric and sentenced all six convicts to death. "The murders were not only cruel, brutal but were diabolic," the Supreme Court had held while saying not just three but all six deserved to be hanged till death.

Later, following an inquiry that established he was less than 18 at the time of the crime, Ankush was sent to a juvenile justice board. The other five sought reconsideration of the verdict against them that was decided by a three-judge bench on Tuesday.

Reading out the verdict, Justice MR Shah said all the accused have been acquitted of all the charges. The judge added that since the accused were made to spend 16 years behind bars for a crime they did not commit, the state government is directed to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to all of them.

The bench also ordered further investigation into the matter, besides ordering a separate inquiry into the false implication. The court has asked the chief secretary to conduct an inquiry and submit a report.

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