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Manjunath murder case: Court convicts 8 accused

Written by: Staff

Lakhimpur Kheri (UP), Mar 23: A local court today convicted all the eight accused in the murder of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) official S Manjunath.

District Judge S M A Adbi, however, said he would announce the quantum of sentence to the convicted persons, including the son of the owner of Mittal Automobiles Pawan Kumar alias Monu, on March 26.

All the eight including Rakesh Anand, Vivek Sharma, Devesh Agnihotri, Sanjay Awasthi, Shivkesh Giri, Harish Mishra and Rajesh Verma have found guilty under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

The court, after a long trial, had reserved its judgement on March 9 after the prosecution submitted the chargesheet on February 15, 2006 against the eight accused in the murder.

IOC sales officer Manjunath, an IIT-Kanpur graduate and an alumni of IIM (Lucknow) of 2003 batch, was killed inside the Mittal Automobile Petrol Pump at Gola Gokarn in Lakhimpur Kheri district on November 19, 2005. He had reportedly threatened to seal Mittal Automobiles for selling adulterated fuel.

The next day, the police intercepted a vehicle carrying Manjunath's body in an area, which fell under the Mahauli police station of the neighbouring Sitapur district.

Two occupants of the vehicle -- Rakesh Anand and Vivek Sharma -- were arrested. The police completed its investigation and filed a chargesheet against eight accused, including Rakesh and Vivek.

The trial of the eight accused commenced in the Lakhimpur session court on June 5.

All the eight accused pleaded innocence in the case, accusing the police of falsely implicating them during the approval of the chargesheet.

Prominent lawyers Kamini Jaiswal and IB Singh argued the case on behalf of the S Manjunath Trust during the murder trial.

Pilibhit-based lawyer VD Pandey pleaded the case on behalf of Monu Mittal. The prosecution presented 23 witnesses before the court and three of them turned hostile.

During the long trial, the accused created a ruckus several times inside and outside the court.

The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust was founded by IIM alumni in February 2006 with the immediate aim of ensuring justice in the Manjunath murder case.

A country-wide protest was also launched with candlelight processions and other agitational programmes taken out, pressing for punishment to the accused.

A native of Karnataka, the IIM-L graduate had joined the IOC in July 2003. In October the same year, he was appointed Area Sales Officer (ASO) of Lakhimpur Kheri.

During his interrogation, Sulakashan Mittal, the owner of Mittal petrol station, said he was not aware of the happenings.


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