Published: August 21, 2020 2:22:01 am
A sessions court on Thursday sentenced nine persons to life imprisonment for the murder of a 30-year-old man in Bhandup after an argument over a cricket match and a pet dog.
The incident dates back to June 6, 2015, when the victim, Bhandup resident Anil Pandey had taken his pet dog Kiwi for a walk in the evening in a forested area near his home. A group of men from the area were playing cricket. A shot by one of the men landed near the dog, who caught the ball in his mouth. When one of the accused, Saurabh Khopade, went to fetch the ball, he was bitten by the dog. This led to a fight between the men and the victim. Witnesses said the accused threatened to cut off the legs of the dog, which angered the victim. Others intervened, stopped the fight and the victim’s friends brought him home.
According to his wife, Priya, who was the main eyewitness in the case, her husband was still angry about the incident but she calmed him down. She told the court during her deposition that they then had dinner and slept. Around 2 am, the couple and their two children were woken up by the sound of commotion outside their home. They saw a group of men carrying cricket bats, sticks, iron rods and swords had gathered and were abusing the victim.
During the trial, Priya told the court that the men threw stones on their tin roof and damaged it. They then entered the home through the roof after latching the door from outside leaving no way for the family to escape. Priya also said during her deposition that their home was ransacked and then her husband was murdered. She identified the accused including those who had attacked her husband and others who were instigating them.
During the trial, the accused denied their role claiming that an argument had taken place with the victim over the theft of a bell of a temple in the area. Public prosecutor Iqbal Solkar, however, argued that no such police complaint filed regarding theft was presented before the court to prove the claim. Solkar examined 26 witnesses, some of whom did not support the prosecution case, but he argued that Priya’s deposition and forensic analysis of the blood stains on clothes recovered from the accused was enough to prove their guilt. The court found the nine guilty on charges including murder. Some of the men who were out on bail were taken into custody again on Thursday.
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