Tuesday, September 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Dara sentenced to death in Staines murder case
12 others awarded life term

Bhubaneswar, September 22 
Dara Singh, alias Ravindra Kumar Pal, was today sentenced to death by the trial court which awarded life imprisonment to the rest of the 12 convicts in the Staines triple murder case.

The District and Sessions Judge of Khurda, Mr Mahendranath Patnaik, who convicted 13 of the 14 accused persons in the case on September 15, awarded the quantum of punishment in a jam-packed court room here. 

Those sentenced to life imprisonment are Rajat Kumar Das, alias Dipu Das, Mahendra Hembram, Renta Hembram, Ojen Hansda, Umakanta Bhoi, Kartik Lohar, Rabi Soren, Thuram Ho, Dayanidhi Patra, Mahadev Mahanta, Harish Mahanta and Surath Nayak.

All 13 convicts, including Dara, were present in the dock.

The court, handing out the death sentence to Dara who was separately tried under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, said it was subject to confirmation by the high court.

All convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy), and seven years’ RI under Section 435 (committing mischief by fire or explosive substance) read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly in prosecution of a common object).

They were also awarded life sentence under Section 436 read with Section 149 and Section 302 read with Section 149.

The pronouncement of punishment for the convicts was preceded by a 30-minute argument earlier by defence and CBI counsel on the quantum of punishment.

Defence counsel Bana Mohanty, Gyana Acharya and Rabi Patnaik pleaded for lesser punishment keeping in view their poor economic condition, condition of old and ailing parents and young children. 

Mr Mohanty said Dara’s 85-year-old father was under treatment at a hospital in Noida while his only brother was a psychiatric patient. 

Countering the plea, CBI counsel K. Sudhakar quoted three apex court rulings that the economic condition and family problems of the convicts could not be taken into consideration while pronouncing the sentence. 

Meanwhile, Dara Singh has decided not to go for any appeal against the judgement. Mr Mohanty told newspersons here tonight that Dara Singh had instructed him not to contest the judgement in the higher court. PTI, UNI


Forgiveness, penalty not to be mixed: Gladys

Gladys Staines, widow of Australian missionary Graham Staines, talks on phone as her daughter looks on after a court sentenced the main accused Dara Singh to death in Bhubaneshwar
Gladys Staines, widow of Australian missionary Graham Staines, talks on phone as her daughter looks on after a court sentenced the main accused Dara Singh to death, in Bhubaneshwar on Monday. — PTI photo

Baripada (Orissa), September 22
Gladys Staines, widow of slain Australian missionary Graham Staines, today said she had forgiven the killers of her husband and two children but “forgiveness and the consequences of the crime should not be mixed up.”

“I have no bitterness because forgiveness brings healing and our land needs healing from hatred and violence,” she said in a brief statement issued here after the pronouncement of death sentence against Dara Singh and life imprisonment to 12 others by a Bhubaneswar court this afternoon for the killing of her husband and two sons in Manoharpur village in Mayurbhanj district on January 22, 1999.

“God in Christ has forgiven me and expects his followers to do the same. The Bible says to whomsoever you forgive, their sins will be forgiven,” she said.

“Therefore, in the light of eternity we all need forgiveness of our sins to enter heaven,” she said.

“No individual is above the law of the land. I have no comments regarding the law taking its own course in crime and punishment,” Ms Gladys said. — PTI

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