BENGALURU:The High Court on Wednesday upheld the sentence of life imprisonment awarded to 10 accused and commuted life imprisonment awarded to three other accused to five years in jail in connection with the sensational murder of Gangamma in Mysuru in 2005.
Five of the other accused, including the wife of the prime accused Mantelingaiah, were acquitted due to lack of evidence. All 18 had been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Sessions Court in Mysuru.
A division bench headed by Justice Mohana Shantana Goudar sentenced Mantelingaiah, Nagaraju, Chandramma, Bhagyamma, Shivashetty, Gangothri Mahadeva, Nanja, Andanaiah, H K Putta and Madhubala to life imprisonment.
The bench also commuted the sentences of Devamma, Sarojamma and Sridhar and acquitted Mahadevu, Jayarama, Bhagya, Lokesh and Vikashini, wife of Mantelingaiah. The fourth Additional Sessions Judge H S Kamala had sentenced all the 18 accused to life imprisonment on August 30, 2011.
Gangamma had called a press conference to expose an alleged extortion racket run by Mantelingaiah, who was president of the Akhila Jagruthi Mahasabha (AJMS) and his other ‘misdeeds’.
Gangamma, a resident of Lakshmikanth Nagar near Hebbal in Mysuru, was kidnapped by the accused and taken to the house of Mantelingaiah near Vaddara Palya on H D Kote Road on November 17, 2005.
They assaulted Gangamma with an iron rod, kicked her and then ran a Tata Sumo over her, eventually killing her. Mantelingaiah and others then disposed of her body in Kabini river near Hullahalli to destroy evidence.
It all started after some people were removed from AJMS for allegedly extorting money by misusing the organisation. They were said to be waiting for an opportunity to take revenge against Mantelingaiah and used Gangamma as a pawn in their game.