"The appeals are without merit and are accordingly dismissed," a bench of Justices Reva Khetrapal and Sunita Gupta said while upholding the life term of Parveen, Anil, Gulab Singh and Anil Kumar.
The four hail from a locality in north-west Delhi. The court also rejected the plea of the 4 sentcenconvicts that they did not intend to kill and hence, the murder charge be substituted by milder one of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
"The accused inflicted as many as 10 injuries on the deceased with danda (wooden stick) and knife. Injury nos. 1 and 2 are stated to have caused cranio-cerebral damage resulting in the death of the deceased. The force with which these injuries were inflicted speaks of intent of the accused persons to cause the death of the deceased. The danda itself broke into two pieces. "We are, therefore, unable to persuade ourselves to interfere with the judgement of the trial court by altering the conviction under Section 302 (murder) IPC to one under Section 304, Part I or Part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC," it said.
The four accused, on the night of May 6, 2002, arrived at the pig farm owned by victim Rajesh and his brother Vikas in a Maruti van and forcibly tried to take away pigs. When Rajesh and Vikas tried to stop them, the four accused fatally attacked the victim with a wooden stick and knife. Vikas, who also was injured, fled to inform his family members. Rajesh later succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
"The sequence of events as unfolded by evidence of the witnesses and the documentary evidence on record, in our considered opinion, cogently and conclusively establish the guilt of the accused," the court said.