Thursday, December 20, 2018

Rathi family murder case- President commutes death sentence to life for Gehlot (Maharashtra)

Updated: Nov 5, 2016, 07:50 AM IST

One of the two men convicted for Maharashtra’s most sensational case of cold blooded murder of seven people has escaped gallows and the other is quite hopeful. 

In a rarest of rare case, the President of India has commuted the death sentence of convict Jeetendra Nainsingh Gehlot who robbed and killed seven people-- six members of Pune’s Rathi family including a pregnant woman, two children and their house servant in 1994. His accomplice Narayan Chetanram Chaudhary, may also get relief from gallows against his claim of being a “juvenile” at the time of the incident. Chaudhary has withdrawn his mercy plea and has instead demanded verification of his documents to prove his claim. 

In August 2015, soon after the execution of Bombay blast convict Yakub Memon the home ministry had recommended to the President to reject Gehlot’s mercy plea. However, in a communication dated October 5, 2016, the president has “commuted the death sentence of the condemned prisoner to life imprisonment with a condition that the prisoner shall remain in prison for the whole of the remainder of his natural life and there shall be no further remission of the term of his imprisonment for life by any authority.”

The President’s order has already been communicated to the convict who is currently lodged in Nagpur jail.The President since 2012 has so rejected 26 mercy petitions, including that of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon, who was hanged on July 30,2015. Prior to this he has commuted the death sentence of only Man Bahadur Dewan from Assam’s Dibrugarh district, convicted of killing his wife, two sons and a neighbour.
The incident..

On August 26, 1994, after lunch with family, Sanjay Rathi then 26 years old and his brother-in-law left for some business-related work. While his father was at the sweet mart, his younger brother was in Mumbai and the other family members were at home. In the evening, when he returned after work, his father told him he’s been trying to call home but there was no answer. Since his wife was pregnant, he assumed they must have gone to the doctor. He reached home soon after. 

When no one opened the door on ringing the bell several times, he sent someone to the shop to fetch duplicate keys. When he entered the house, there was no one in the drawing room, which was strange. As he started checking rooms, he discovered his family members in a pool of blood. The victims, investigation revealed, were stabbed to death by convict Narayan Chetanaram Chaudhary, Jitu Nayansingh Gehlot and Rajusingh Rajpurohit. The convicts had also killed the maid servant during the pre-planned theft and murder. 

Main suspect Narayan Chetanram Chaudhary was arrested on September 5, 1994, almost 10 days after the murders while another key suspect, Jitendra alias Jitu Nayansingh Gehlot, was arrested on November 21, 1994 and Raju Rajpurohit was arrested on October 15, 1994, from different places in Rajasthan. Rajpurohit turned police approver and walked away with lesser punishment.

The victims 

Meera Rathi, aged 45, her daughter-in-law Babita alias Nita Rathi, 24, her daughter Preeti, 19, Meera's married daughter Hemlata, 27, Chirag, Babita's two-and-a-half-year-old son, Pratik, Hemlata's one-and-a-half-year-old son and family's maid servant Satyabhamabai Sutar.

  • August 26, 1994: Convicts killed seven members of Rathi household 
  • February 1998: Trial Court awarded death sentence to both the convicts 
  • July 1999: Bombay High Court upheld the death penalty
  • September 2000: SC upheld the death penalty
  • 2004: Convicts filed mercy petition
  • 2007: Maharashtra governor rejected the mercy petition
  • 2012: files got burnt in the Mantralya fire
  • August 2015: Home ministry pulled up Maharashtra home department for delay in sending the file
  • October 2016: President commuted the death sentence into life imprisonment.
Source: (Accessed 20 December 2018)

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