Two get life imprisonment for murder of Youth Congress woman functionary; RI for 4 others

A court here in Maharashtra on Monday sentenced two persons, one of them a former local Youth Congress leader, to life imprisonment for the murder of a woman functionary of the youth wing of Congress in 2014.

District and sessions judge RB Rote also handed rigorous imprisonment (RI) of three years each to four others, including a former Latur municipal council chief and an ex-corporator, in the murder case, on the charges including the destruction of evidence.

The hearing of the case continued for more than nine years in the district and sessions court during which 126 witnesses were examined; 40 of them turned hostile, according to the prosecution.

Investigators had filed a charge sheet running into 1,000 pages in the court.

The court sentenced the main accused Mahendrasinh Chauhan (the then president of Latur Youth Congress) and Sameer Killarikar to life imprisonment under sections 302 (Punishment for murder), 201 (Causing disappearance of evidence of an offence committed) and 120 B (Criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on each of them.

In case of the failure to pay the fine, their jail term will be increased by three months, the judge noted.

The court sentenced Prabhakar Shetty, Suvarna Sinha alias Shrirang Thakur, former civic chief Vikramsinh Chauhan, father of Mahendrasinh, and ex-corporator Kuldipsinh Thakur to three years of rigorous imprisonment under section 201 of the IPC and RI of two years under section 203 (Giving false information respecting an offence committed). Both the sentences will run concurrently.

The case was investigated by the CBI, the Crime Investigation Department, and the local police.

The body of the 28-year-old woman was found in a lake near Tuljapur in Dharashiv district, formerly Osmanabad, on March 21, 2014, the prosecution said.

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Her relatives had alleged that the woman was abducted and raped before murder.

However, the offence of rape was not proved against the convicts.

Police had initially arrested Mahendrasinh Chauhan and Sameer Killarikar before picking up the other accused.

According to the prosecution, Killarikar had confessed to killing the woman by pushing her into the late following an argument between her and Mahedrasinh Chauhan.

Defence advocate Jagannath Chitade said the verdict will be challenged in the Bombay High Court.

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