CHENNAI: A division bench of the Madras High Court on Monday set aside the death sentence awarded to five convicts including the father of Kausalya in the sensational 2016 Udumalapet Shankar honour killing case by modifying it to a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years without any right for remission.
A division bench comprising justices M Sathyanarayanan and M Nirmal Kumar in its 327-page judgement ordered for the acquittal of the father B Chinnasamy by dropping all the charges against him and called for his immediate release from the Coimbatore prison.
The court also confirmed the acquittal of Kausalya's mother and two others by the Tiruppur district court.
Speaking to TNIE, Udumalai Shankar's younger brother Yuvaraj said, “I am feeling very sad about verdict.”
“When my parents were informed about the murder of my elder brother Shankar in March 2016, they were shocked and no consolation could resolve their pain. When the verdict about the death sentence was announced, they were somewhat satisfied. But, today's verdict was a shocking blow, as the prime conspirators were released. As it is a clear case of honour killing, we feel very sad and disappointed,” he added.
It is to be recalled that Kausalya, who belongs to the socially dominant Thevar community, had married Shankar, a Dalit youth of Udumalpet in Tirupur district, in 2015. On March 13, 2016, the couple was brutally attacked by a three-member gang near Udumalpet town bus stand. Shankar, only 22 at the time, succumbed to his injuries while 19-year-old Kausalya survived.
On December 12, 2017, the Tiruppur district sessions court sentenced six people including Chinnasamy, the father of Kausalya to capital punishment for murdering Shankar.
Of the 11 accused, six were sentenced to death. Three others, including her mother Annalakshmi, maternal uncle Pandi Thurai and a 16-year-old relative, were acquitted of all charges. Two other accused got lesser sentences.
Challenging the death sentence awarded, Chinnasamy, Jegadeesan, Manikandan, Selvakumar, Kalai Tamilvaanan and Madan moved the appeal. The state also appealed to the High Court against the sentence awarded to the mother and other relatives.