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"Dara Singh cannot be individually held liable"

"Dara Singh cannot be individually held liable"

Author: Prafulla Das
Publication: The Hindu
Date: May 20, 2005
URL: http://www.hindu.com/2005/05/20/stories/2005052016261200.htm

"There is absolutely no evidence on record that due to the  individual act of Dara Singh alone the three or any of them died."

Setting aside the death penalty given to Dara Singh in the case of killing of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons, the Orissa High Court on Thursday said: "There is absolutely no evidence on record that due to the individual act of Dara Singh alone the three or any of them died. No fatal injury to any of the deceased has been attributed to Dara Singh. He cannot be held individually liable though he can be held liable vicariously along with others."

The 11 appellants whose life imprisonment was set aside are Dayanidhi Patra, Umakanta Bhoi, Kartik Lohar, Rabi Soren, Mahadev Mohanta, Turam Ho, Renta Hembram, Ojen Hansda, Suratha Nayak, Harish Chandra Mohanta and Rajat Kumar Das. The District and Sessions Judge of Khurda, Mahendra Nath Patnaik, had separately awarded death sentence to Dara Singh, while handing life imprisonment to him, along with 12 others, under various Sections of the IPC. S.K. Padhi, counsel for Central Bureau of Investigation, said the agency would decide on challenging the High Court order in the Supreme Court. Counsel for Dara Singh said a decision on challenging the order would be taken after consulting him.

Graham Staines, Phillip (11) and Timothy (7) were burnt to death while they were asleep inside their station wagon at Manoharpur village after attending a jungle camp, an annual gathering of Christians for fellowship and teaching.

The trial court sentenced the accused on September 22, 2003 after examining 55 prosecution witnesses and 25 defence witnesses. The High Court, which conducted 10 hearings on the appeals filed by 14 persons, reserved orders on October 6 last.

Dara Singh, lodged in the Baripada Circle jail, is facing trial in three other murder cases.


The Hindu, May 21, 2005 (not in the online edition)

"High Court indicts CBI in Staines case" by Prafulla Das

[The High Court made a scathing indictment of the CBI investigation and  said] "`such lapses on the part of an elite investigating agency like  the CBI cannot be excused'......Coming down heavily on the Investigating  Officer for adopting improper methods to acquire evidence, the Judges  observed that...`It was absolutely unfair and unethical on the part of  the overzealous CBI Investigating Officers to adopt such unheard of  methods to procure tainted evidence to somehow procure convictions of  the appellants,' the Court observed".

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