The CBI today appealed to the Supreme Court to award death sentence to main accused Dara Singh for the brutal manner in which Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were killed by a mob in Orissa's Koenjhar district in January 1999.
Appearing for the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha told a Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan that Dara Singh deserved death sentence as the murders were committed in a most "diabolic and dastardly manner" which deserved exemplary punishment.
"It was not a simple conspiracy, but a dastardly conspiracy in which three innocent hapless victims were beaten and burnt alive in the car," he told the Bench.
While Dara had filed an appeal challenging his conviction and the life sentence awarded to him, CBI has filed a cross appeal seeking enhancement of the life sentence.
The appeals were admitted by the apex court in October 2005.
On May 19, 2005, the Orissa High Court altered to life imprisonment the death penalty imposed by the sessions court on Dara Singh for the murder of Staines and his two minor sons -- Philip, 10, and Timothy, 6. Along with Dara, another person Mahendra Hembram was convicted in the case.
However, the High Court had acquitted 11 others who were awarded life terms by the trial court in the case.
Dara Singh and Mahendra Hembrom were found guilty for burning to death Staines and his sons Philip and Timothy, who were sleeping inside a van outside a church, at Manoharpur village in Koenjhar district of Orissa on January 22, 1999.
The trial court in Khurda in September 2003 had convicted all the 14 accused.
While Dara Singh and Hembrom were awarded the death sentence, others were given life imprisonment. However, the High Court had commuted their death sentences to life imprisonment.
Staines' Murder Case: CBI Pleads for Death to Dara
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