In its decision delivered on Monday, the court also upheld the punishment given to all other accused in the case, including Amarmani's wife Madhumani. The couple were found guilty of killing Madhumati, a poet, almost a decade back in Lucknow after the latter had allegedly refused to abort the child from Tripathi. Another version says Shukla was killed at the behest of Madhumani after the latter came to know that she was having an affair with Amarmani.
Amarmani's nephew Rohit Chaturvedi and an acquaintance Santosh Roy were also given life by a special court in Dehradun in 2007. However, Prakash Chandra Pandey, accused of having shot dead Madhumita, was acquitted due to insufficient proof. Pandey had been identified by Desraj, a servant of Madhumita and a prime witness in the case.
The victim's sister, Nidhi, was another key witness of the murder. The CBI had demanded death sentence for all the accused but the court felt it was not a rarest of a rare case and life sentence was apt for the accused.
Shukla's kin had taken up the legal battle after she was found murdered at her flat on May 9, 2003. The case was first taken up in UP but the victim's relatives moved the Supreme Court seeking a transfer of the case. They feared a biased trial could deprive Shukla of justice. The case was then shifted to Dehradun but it was alleged that Shukla's family was under constant threat despite Amarmani's arrest in 2003.
The Uttarakhand High Court, while pronouncing its decision on Monday, said no relief could be granted to Amarmani or any other accused since their role in the murder case had been proved by the CBI. The ruling undoubtedly is a blow for Tripathi who has been trying to get bail to contest elections.