Shankar and Kausalya
CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Monday set aside the death sentence awarded to five accused in the Udumalpet Shankar honour killing case and modified them to life imprisonment for a minimum of 25 years without any right to remission.
A division bench of Justice M Sathyanarayanan and M Nirmal Kumar also acquitted accused no 1 – B Chinnaswamy, father of Kausalya, and relieved him from all the charges including that of criminal conspiracy.
This apart, acquittal of Kausalya’s mother and two others have been confirmed by the court.
All the acquitted people, who are presently under incarceration, have been ordered to be released forthwith if their custody is not required in connection with any other case.
Shankar, who was a dalit and a native of Kumaralingam near Udumalpet, fell in love with non-dalit Kausalya while they were studying in a private engineering college in Pollachi. They got married against the wishes of her parents.
On March 13, 2016, a three-member gang hacked Shankar to death. Kausalya suffered injuries in the attack.
On December 12, 2017 the Tirupur district session court sentenced six people, including Chinnaswamy, to death for the murder.
Of the 11 accused, six were sentenced to death. Three others, including her mother Annalakshmi, maternal uncle Pandi Thurai and a 16-year-old relative, were acquitted of all charges while two others got lesser sentences.
Challenging the death sentence awarded to them, Chinnasamy, Jegadeesan, Manikandan, Selvakumar, Kalai Tamilvaanan and Madan alias Michael moved the appeal.
Similarly, the investigation officer also moved appeal against acquittal of Kausalya’s mother and two others from the case by the trial court.