Baripada, Oct 29 (UNI) Dara Singh alias Ravindra Pal Singh was today sentenced to life prisonment on charges of murder of garment trader Rahaman.
Mayurbhanj District and Sessions Judge Sachidananda Sahoo, while pronouncing the verdict, further ordered Dara Singh to pay a fine of Rs 5,000, and by default, undergo rigrous imprisonment for a further period of one year.
The sentences awarded on Dara Singh will run concurrently, the court observed.
The District Judge, however, acquitted 23 others, accused of involvement in the case, for lack of evidence. All the 24 accused persons, including Dara Singh were present in the courtroom, when the judgment was pronounced.
According to the prosecution, Dara Singh, along with his accomplices raided Sheikh Rahaman's ready-made garment shop at the Padiabeda weekly haat (market) under Thakurmunda police station in Mayurbhanj district on August 26,1999.
The garment shop was set ablaze and a severely injured Rahaman was thrown into the blaze, who later succumbed to the injuries.
The sessions trial of this sensational murder case commenced on July 28, 2004 and was concluded on October 3 this year.
Altogether, 35 prosecution witnesses had been deposed in the case and they were cross-examined. Out of the 38 accused persons, 13 were acquitted on August 9 this year for lack of evidence, while one Umakanta Mohanto died, leaving 24, including Dara Singh to stand the sessions trial.
This was for the third time that Dara Singh had been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life in three different murder cases, including the ''triple murder case'' of Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines and his two minor sons Phillip (11) and Timothy (7) at Monaharpur in Keonjhar district on 22 January, 1999.
Dara Singh was the prime accused in the triple murder case, in which the death sentence awarded on him was commuted to life by the Orissa High Court.
He was also sentenced to life in the sensational ''Arul Doss murder case'' and sentenced to life imprisonment by the District and Sessions Judge on September 22 last. Seventeen other accused, who were allegedly involved in the Arul Doss murder case, were set at liberty as there was no evidence against them.
According to the prosecution, Dara Singh and his 20 associates, raided the Catholic Church at Jambani under Mahuldiha police station in Mayurbhanj district on the night of September 1,1999, when the villagers were celebrating ''Nuakhai''.
Arul Doss, the Pastor of the Catholic church, was killed by arrow wounds.