Thursday, December 20, 2018

Double murder: Death penalty commuted (Tamil Nadu)

TNN | Jun 11, 2016, 12.00 AM IST 

Chennai: A Coimbatore youth who faced the gallows for a double murder of women over land dispute will have a reason to smile now, as the Madras high court has commuted his penalty into one of imprisonment for life. The convict, however, will not be eligible for any remission for 20 years. A division bench of Justice S Nagamuthu and Justice V Bharathidasan, allowing the plea of Rajiv Gandhi alias Marimuthu on Thursday, said though it was a matter of concern that the youth had earlier been convicted in a murder case and served a 7- year term proving he is a repeat offender, the double murder would not fall in the rarest of rare category. 

The case relates to a February 11, 2012 incident, wherein Marimuthu hacked two women – Palaniammal and Jothimani – over ownership of a piece of land at Sungam village in Pollachi taluk of Coimbatore. There were a total of two accused including Marimuthu. As the second accused died during the pendency of the trial charges against him abated, leaving only Marimuthu to face the trial. On March 30, 2016 the IV additional district and sessions court in Coimbatore found him guilty of the murders, and awarded death penalty. However, hearing the referred the trial and Marimuthu's appeal against the sentence and conviction, the bench said killing of two women was indeed brutal and gruesome and could not be tolerated by any man of ordinary prudence. 

Noting that the trial court might have been influenced by the fact that Marimuthu had already been punished for murder, having served seven years in jail, the judges said motive for the latest murders had nothing to do with the earlier murder. Weighting the mitigating circumstances such as age and land dispute being motive, the judges said, "in our view it is not as though the sentence of imprisonment for life would be inadequate…There is no 0% mitigating circumstance in the instance case. We are of the view that so far as the murders of the two women is concerned, imprisonment for life would be the adequate punishment.

Source: (Accessed 20 December 2018)

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