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Life sentence for John Pandian upheld

By Staff
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Chennai, Apr 4 (UNI) Madras High Court today upheld a lower court order convicting and sentencing Tamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader John Pandian and eight others to life imprisonment in the sensational Vivek murder case in Coimbatore on August 17, 1993.

A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice R Balasubramanian and Mr Justice M Thanickachallam upheld the order of the Fast Track Court-I, Coimbatore, on January 6, 2003, convicting and sentencing John Pandian, Venkataramakrishnan, a mill owner and seven others to life imprisonment in the Vivek murder case.

The prosecution case was that Vivek, Venkataramakrishnan and Sunitha were classmates in college. Venkataramakrishnan fell in love with Sunitha, but she turned him down and married Vivek. He wanted to eliminate Vivek and marry Sunitha. To this aim, he hatched a plot with others, engaged mercenaries and murdered Vivek.

While John Pandian was arrested on September 28, 1993, Venkataramakrishnan was arrested on August 29, 1993.

In its order, the Bench said John Pandian had not surfaced at any point of time physically but he was always behind the scenes. The stay of Ubayathullah, another accused, at a hotel in Tirunelveli and his contact with John Pandian on the phone had been well established.

The other accused Sivakumar, Ubayathullah, Yusuf and Abdul Karim travelled from Coimbatore to Tirunelveli and then Chennai before they returned to Coimbatore. This strengthened the conspiracy theory. The conspirators contacted John Pandian during the relevant period. John Pandian had associated with other assailants. This proved he had played a key role in engaging assailants to eliminate Vivek. Therefore, he was responsible for the conspiracy, as rightly held by the trial court, the Bench added.

The prosecution had established the conspiracy by proving that Venkataramakrishnan was dejected by the refusal of Sunitha to marry him and his own not-so-happy married life. 'We analysed circumstances on the touchstone of legal principles enunciated by the Supreme Court. The possible and only inference should be that pursuant to the conspiracy the act was committed'.

The Bench recorded its appreciation that the investigating officer had performed his duty in unearthing the crime uninfluenced.

UNI XR AA TM HT2122

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