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Death for youth for killing defenceless stepmother and her children

J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday slapped the death penalty on a youth for causing the death of his stepmother, stepbrother and stepsister to grab his father's property.

The murders are “extremely brutal and diabolical,” held a Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and B.S. Chauhan, dismissing his appeal.

Writing the judgment, Justice Sathasivam said: “The cold-blooded murder is committed with a deliberate design in order to inherit the entire property of Jaswant Singh [appellant Atbir's father] without waiting for his death. The magnitude of the crime is also enormous in proportion since Atbir, with the assistance of his mother and brother, committed the multiple murders of all the members of the family.”

“Victims innocent”

The Bench noted: “The victims are innocent who could not have or have not provided even an excuse, much less a provocation for murder. Though Atbir was also at the age of 25 at the relevant point of time, considering his hunger and lust for property [in] killing his own family members when they had no occasion to provoke or resist and causing 37 knife blows on vital parts of all the three persons, we conclude that it is the gravest case of extreme culpability and rarest of rare cases, and the death sentence alone would be proper and adequate.”

The judges said, “We are also satisfied that the victims were helpless and undefended. Taking into consideration all the facts and materials, it is crystal clear that the entire act of Atbir amounts to a barbaric and inhuman behaviour of the highest order. The manner in which the murders were carried out is extremely brutal, gruesome, diabolical, and revolting as to shock the collective conscience of the community.”

The Bench, while confirming the conviction and sentence of death imposed on Atbir, said it should be executed in accordance with law. It also confirmed the life imprisonment awarded to his accomplice, Ashok.

Jaswant Singh had married accused Chandra @ Chandrawati, and three children — Satbir, Atbir and Anju — were born to them. Thereafter, Jaswant Singh married Sheela Devi and they had a son and a daughter.

The prosecution said Chandrawati, her son and his accomplice eliminated Sheela Devi's family to grab the property.

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