CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has modified the sentence awarded to a youth who was convicted of murder from the initial death sentence to imprisonment for life.
A division bench of Justices R Sudhakar and PN Prakash, which reduced the sentence to life, however, said that the accused should undergo the quantum of sentences imposed on various counts consecutively to a minimum term of 25 years and he should not be given remission under any circumstances.
The bench was passing orders on the referred trial from the State and a criminal appeal from Ramajayam alias Appu, who was convicted in the murder of Gunaram, a pawn broker in Sakthi Nagar in Tiruvallur district on April 14, 2012. The III Additional Sessions Judge in Tiruvallur in Poonamallee awarded, among other things, capital punishment to Ramajeyam, a techie, on January 21, 2015.
Confirming the conviction, but reducing the sentence to that of life, the bench observed that there is force in the submission of Public Prosecutor Shanmuga Velayutham that the offence has been committed in a cool, calculated and gruesome manner. The bench said, “If his motive was only to commit robbery, the accused could have easily bolted the vault room from outside when Gunaram was inside and taken away the jewellery as much as he could. There was no necessity to brutally murder Gunaram.”
“Keeping in mind the macabre nature of the crime, we are of the view that the sentences imposed on the accused should run consecutively and not concurrently.
In the result, the conviction of the appellant/accused under sections 449, 392 and 302 IPC is confirmed. The death sentence imposed for the offence under Section 302 IPC is set aside. Instead, he is sentenced to life imprisonment and directed that the accused should serve a minimum period of 25 years in prison during which period he will not be entitled to any statutory remission or commutation,” the bench said.
The judges also directed the Secretaries of State Finance and Home departments and the DGP to ensure within two months that the disbursal power of the investigation charges of the Superintendents of Police and that of the Zonal Inspectors General of Police stipulated in a GO dated July 29, 2003, is enhanced from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000, and from Rs 2,000 to Rs 15,000 for seizing gadgets such as video footage. Other parties, who assist the police by submitting such gadgets, should not be made to suffer for handing over the same, the bench said.