New Delhi: Three AIADMK men - Nedunchezhian, Ravindran and Muniappan - facing death sentence in the Dharmapuri bus burning incident pleaded for mercy on Friday in the Supreme Court, saying that the incident took place as they were miffed by Jayalalithaa’s conviction.
Making this submission before a three-judge Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Arun Mishra and Prafulla C. Pant, the convicts sought commutation of death sentence into life imprisonment.
The Bench was hearing a review petition filed by the three convicts seeking reconsideration of the judgment dated August 30, 2010, which upheld both the trial court and Madras High Court verdict. The apex court had stayed their execution in January 2011.
The case relates to the death of three girl students — Kokilavani, Gayathri and Hemalatha — of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. The bus in which they were travelling along with 44 other students and two teachers was torched by a mob of AIADMK supporters on February 2, 2000, after the conviction of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the ‘Pleasant Stay hotel case’.
Senior counsel L. Nageswara Rao, appearing for Muniappan argued that the killing of the three girls was not pre-meditated. It happened during mob frenzy soon after the trial court gave its verdict against their leader Jayalalithaa.
“In Tamil Nadu people are emotionally attached towards their leader. If something goes against their leader, people resort to protests, agitations, demonstrations and some even commit suicide,” said the counsel. He further argued that the killing was not pre-planned but a spur of the moment reaction.
Senior counsel Sushil Kumar, appearing for the other two convicts said the intention of the convicts was only to destroy the public property. They thought that the bus belonging to the Agricultural University belonged to the government.
At this juncture, the bench asked the counsel to apprise the period of life sentence that could be awarded. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on March 11....