Staines Case: Accused Questions SC Verdict

Staines Case: Accused Questions SC Verdict
Even as supporters of Dara Singh welcomed today's Supreme Court verdict on the sensational tripple murder case involving Australian Missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons, Chenchu, also an accused, has expressed dissatisfaction over the judgement.

Sudarshan Hansda alias Chenchu, the lone juvenile (then 13 years old) accused in the Staines murder case said: "While 11 other accused were acquitted in the case due to lack of evidence, how come the apex court held two (Dara and Mahendra) guilty".

Claiming that none of them were involved in the murder case, he said there is no "strong evidence" against the duo.

"Even the CBI and witnesses had failed to gather solid evidence against Dara Singh and Mahendra Hembram," he said.

"We had approached the Supreme Court with hope that Dara and Mahendra would also be acquitted. We are sorry over today's verdict," he told reporters.

Chenchu was 13 when arrested in connection with the Staines murder case. A year later he was convicted by a juvenile court.

Besides Chenchu, there were 13 other accused, including Dara Singh, who were convicted by the Khurda District and Sessions Court in September 2003.

While Singh was awarded death sentence, the other 12 were given life sentences. In May 2005, the Orissa High Court, however, commuted the death penalty awarded to Singh to life imprisonment.

The court also acquitted 11 others who were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Khurda District and Sessions court.

But Chenchu was kept in a juvenile home at Angul till the session judge court in Bhubaneswar acquitted him.

Meanwhile, Dara Sena, an outfit working on the ideology of Singh, also did not accept the verdict.

"How can SC punish Dara Singh without solid evidence against him," asked Dara Sena chief Mukesh Jain.
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