HC upholds death for man who killed own family, raped daughter
TNN | Nov 13, 2014
KOCHI: The high court on Wednesday upheld the death penalty awarded to Reji Kumar alias Reji (40) of Karoor near Pala who, over a little over two weeks, strangled his wife Lissy and four children to death, and raped his 12-year-old daughter before killing her, to live with his lover Baby alias Usha.
A division bench, comprising Justices T R Ramachandran Nair and A V Ramakrishna Pillai, confirmed the death sentence awarded by a sessions court in 2009. It said the accused didn’t repent the murders and he was beyond rehabilitation. After killing his wife, Reji even had sex with his lover on the same night, the court pointed out in the order.
The lover, mother of a 13-year-old, had become estranged with him when the murders came to light and her statement stood against him during the trial. A movie, titled ‘Manushya Mrugam’, was made in 2011 loosely based on the murders.
Reji, a post-graduate, was employed by one Aboobacker Siddique, a cable network operator, at his rubber plantation at Amayur, Palakkad. He was living at Amayur in a rented house with Lissy and two of his younger children, Ananya (3) and Amal (10). His two daughters, Amalu (12) and Amulya (9), were studying at St Joseph’s UP School at Ramapuram in Pala and were staying in a hostel.
Reji shared a physical relationship with Usha whom he met while working at the plantation. The prosecution case is that Reji strangled Lissy to death on July 8 while he killed Ananya and Amal on July 13. He then brought Amalu and Amulya home on the pretext of his mother’s death. He raped Amalu and strangled her to death on July 23. He killed Amulya too on the day.
The bodies of Amalu and Amulya were found inside the house on the same day while Lissy’s body was found in the septic tank on July 25. The bodies of Ananya and Amal were found buried in an adjacent property.
Police had found semen on Amalu’s dress and had sent its samples, along with a vaginal swab, for chemical examination and later for DNA matching. The prosecution submitted that the semen samples matched Reji’s DNA.
Additional director general of prosecution Tom Jose Padinjarekkara submitted that the accused is a matured and educated man who, instead of protecting his family, killed them in a pre-planned, cruel manner.
Reji Kumar strangled his wife Lissy and four children to death, and raped his 12-year-old daughter before killing her, to live with his lover.
Close call between life and death
The Kerala High Court on Friday took a call on the death vs life debate for extreme crimes and a division bench that considered the question stood more in favour of life but did not seek an abolition of death penalty altogether.
While considering the references of death penalty given by various trial courts to 10 convicts, a division bench comprising Justices R. Basant and K. Vinod Chandran opined that a harsher life term (without parole, commutation or remission) should be more of a norm.
Among the death references considered by the court was that of one-handed Govindachamy, the convict in Soumya murder case.
Justice R. Basant, who retired on Friday, opined that death sentence and harsh life imprisonment can be considered by both the high court and the sessions courts. He expressed that both courts have powers to impose a harsher punishment.
According to Justice Basant, a larger bench of five judges should consider the matter and formulate guidelines on this aspect. However, Justice Vinod Chandran had a different opinion and observed that delaying a decision would only prolong the agony and trauma of the convicts.
He said that by a specific order, the apex court had not conferred any such power on trial courts.
Relying on the Supreme Court verdict on the famous Swami Sradhananda case, Justice Vinod Chandran opined: “I agree with Justice Basant on the issue of High Court having power to extend life sentences beyond 14 years. But I have a difference of opinion on sessions court having powers to decide the question.”
On formulating the guidelines, Justice Basant observed that a five-judge bench should arrive at a consensus on awarding death sentences in each case. “Unless a five-judge bench unanimously comes to the conclusion that a death sentence is the only option considering the gravity of the crime, the convict should be given a life term,” he said.
Justice Basant also opined that courts should consider Kerala’s social situation while awarding death sentences. “Kerala should set a model for other states in avoiding death sentences to convicts by extending the life term awarded to the victims,” he observed.
The matter will now go to the Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur who will constitute a single bench to take a final call in the issue.
Who holds the supreme power?
While the division bench unanimously agreed for giving extended life terms instead of gallows for those on death row, the two judges differed on who should have the power to decide the question.
While Justice R. Basant suggested that both the high court and the sessions court can wield the power to decide the issue, Justice K. Vinod Chandran was of the view that the power should be exercised by the high court only.
Interestingly, members of the bar too stood divided on the issue. “I cannot accept the view (expressed by Justice K. Vinod Chandran) that sessions court should not consider the question of extending the life term. Sessions courts pass verdicts after conducting the trial so they have every right to consider the issue,” said Advocate Sivan Madathil
Even if the session’s court commits a mistake it can be challenged at the high court and Supreme Court, he said.
However, director general of Prosecution Mr Asaf Ali argued that only Supreme Court can arrive at a decision on whether to extend life terms.
Nizhalkuthu: tale of unjustness
The film, Nizhalkuthu (Shadow Kill), coproduced by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, is about the inherent unjustness of certain punishments.
The film is set in the 1940s in a village of Travancore, British India. Kaliyappan, the last hangman of Travancore dynasty, spends all the time drinking and seeking atonement.
The reason for this self-destruction has been the remorse born out of the feeling that the last man he hanged was an innocent. The late Oduvil Unnikrishnan portrayed Kaliyappan.
10 Who await
Govindachamy – Soumya rape and murder Kanakaraj – Puthoor Sheela murder case Antony alias Anthappan – Aluva murder killing 6 persons.
Unni – Kanichikulangara case Reji Kumar – murdering wife and four children in Pattambi
Lawrence – Idukki murder Ramachandran – Vandoor case for killing two women
Pradeep Borah – murdering a couple from Orrisa.
Jojo alias Jomon – murder of mother and grandfather in Idukki Shaju alias Unni – Kollam murder case
Ripper Chandran was the last person to be hanged in the state, in 1991
Man kills wife suspecting adultery
The man allegedly shot four bullets at his wife as he suspected her to be having extra-marital affair
A man was arrested for allegedly killing his wife over suspected affair in south Delhi, police said on Tuesday. They said accused Balram works at a pump house and allegedly shot his wife Veena as he suspected her to be having an extramarital affair.
He was arrested on Tuesday at a house in Kotla Mubarakpur where he was hiding. He failed to explain why he killed his wife. The incident occurred on Monday night but was reported to police on Tuesday morning after Krishna, the deceased’s daughter, informed police that her father killed her mother in Sector 7 at RK Puram.
“It was found during investigation that Veena sustained four gunshot injuries. A police team found bloodstains on the floor where clothes were washed,” said DCP Milind Dumbere. As per Krishna’s statement, Veena stayed with her husband, son and daughter-in-law in government accommodation. The relation between her father and mother was not cordial.
Balram used to beat Veena as he cast doubt on her character. “Krishna’s brother and sister-in-law were away at Burari to attend a function on Sunday. She called her father and asked about her mother. He informed that Veena had gone out for some work,” he said.
Krishna didn’t find her father’s words convincing and called her brother, who told her about the tragic incident. She rushed with her husband to her parental house and found her mother lying on floor and blood oozing out from head and back,” Dumbre added. A case has been registered.
Police arrest grocer for beheading woman
TNN | Updated: Nov 21, 2017
CHENNAI: Police have solved the November 12 murder of a 42-year-old woman at Thiruvalangadu with the arrest of a provision store owner on Monday.
Police said A Mariappan, 39, of Tiruttani, murdered Lakshmi alias Revathi to steal her gold jewellery and pay off his debts. They arrested Mariappan and seized the stolen jewellery and a bag containing Lakshmi’s Aadhaar card and cellphone from his shop.
Police said they recovered the torso of the woman and found her head 1km away in a patch of bush. Police established her identity and learned that Lakshmi had last been seen with Mariappan on a scooter. Police suspected the grocer as his store had been locked from November 13.
They arrested Mariappan from a bus in Tiruttani. Police said Lakshmi lived alone with three children and Mariappan had become friendly with her. On November 12, as they were returning from a temple in Wallajah, Mariappan killed Lakshmi.
Woman’s torso found in bushes
TNN | Updated: Nov 15, 2017
Police personnel searched the area for the head till 6 pm but stopped due to lack of light. A police officer said the search would continue on Wednesday. The Thiruvalangadu police have registered a case
Cops identify headless body
TNN | Nov 18, 2017