HC admits gangster''s appeal, calls for lower court records

Cuttack, Jan 24 (PTI) Orissa High Court today admitteda petition of gangster Sandeep Acharya alias Raja who hadchallenged a lower court verdict sentencing him for life andimposition of a fine for killing judo coach Biranchi Das,known for being the trainer of child marathon runner BudhiaSingh.

������� Calling for lower court records (LCR), a DivisionBench consisting of Justices Pradeep Mohanty and B K Naikgranted a stay on the realization of fine but ordered that theother miscellaneous petition of the appellant seeking bailwould be taken up after submission of LCR.

A Bhubaneswar-based fast track court had last monthconvicted Raja and his associate Akhaya Behera alias Chagalain the murder case and sentenced both to life imprisonment andimposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on each.

Raja''s counsel Debasnan Das submitted that no motivewas proved against his client and he was convicted solely onthe basis of suspicion.

Although the prosecution have not yet moved the HighCourt for enhancement of the sentences as announced earlier,Raja in his appeal has stated that the trial court convictedhim without appreciating the evidence on legal perspective.

Biranchi Das was shot dead near the Judo Hall inBhubaneswar on April 13, 2008 evening. On April 22, Raja''sassociate Chagala appeared in public at a private TV channeloffice in Bhopal where he had reportedly confessed before thelocal police of having killed Biranchi.

Later on May 5, Raja, who was absconding, surrenderedbefore Goa police in Panaji. Bhubaneswar police framed chargesagainst them on August 1, 2009 and the trial in the case beganin September that year which continued till November 2010.

On December 13 last year, the lower court hadconvicted Raja and Chagala for killing Biranchi and after fourdays pronounced the quantum of sentences.

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