BALANGIR/BHUBANESWAR:A Titlagarh court on Friday convicted all the four accused of murdering Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Abhimanyu Sahu and sentenced them to life.
Additional District Judge, Titlagarh, Prashant Kumar Das pronounced Alok Das, Santosh Rana, Jagdish Bagh and Naresh Singh guilty basing on the investigation and evidence produced by Crime Branch of State Police which was probing the case. In its 63-page judgment, the court found that the prosecution proved the complicity of the four in brutal murder of Sahu on the morning of December 15, 2013 when he was out on morning walk.
The ADJ Court convicted the four under Sections 302, 120 (B) and 34 of Indian Penal Code and handed out life sentences apart from imposing a penalty of `20,000 on each of them.
Key accused Das was also convicted under Section 27 of Arms Act and sentenced to five years’ rigorous imprisonment. Both the sentences will run concurrently. He has been asked to pay a penalty of `5,000 failing which he would have to undergo four months in jail.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the CB had cracked the case within a fortnight by arresting the four, including prime accused Alok, on December 28.
A 178-page chargesheet submitted by the investigating agency had detailed the outcome of post-mortem report, material evidence related to the murder and medical examination of the accused.
The forensic report of the weapons used in the murder were also submitted to the court during the trial.
During the trial process, as many as 33 witnesses were examined before the court which completed its hearing on July 15.
Although the case was stated to be a political murder, the CB investigation had found business rivalry and personal animosity to be the motive. As part of their plan to kill Sahu, Alok and his three accomplices had carried out a recce. On December 15, they trailed him in an Ambassador car and a two-wheeler. They initially tried run over him but later hacked him to death.
Special DG, Crime Branch, BK Sharma tweeted the court judgement and said the SIT detected the blind case and arrested the four accused within a fortnight. “Crime Branch closely tracked the trial and because of dedicated efforts of Special Public Prosecutor, it could secure conviction of the accused,” his post said.
Sahu was a strong contender for BJD ticket for Titilagarh Assembly seat. His widow Tukuni Sahu was given the party ticket and successfully contested the elections.
Talking to mediapersons, Tukuni said the court verdict brought some sense of happiness but her loss was irreparable. “I still request the Crime Branch not to close the case and find the mastermind. The real villains behind the crime need to be exposed,” she said.