“You are sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment under section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal of Code and six months of imprisonment under section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act. Both sentences shall run concurrently,” said Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Virender Bhat. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 60,000 each on Major (Retd) Lalit Balhara and his second wife Preeti Balhara after holding them guilty of battering the minor boy and trying to kill him after the victim’s mother, herself an Army captain, had died in 2000.
The victim’s counsel Ravinder S Garia had demanded the harshest possible punishment for the convicts saying the minor has suffered permanent injury and has been left with ‘battered baby syndrome’ for life. The boy, now 13, was first brought to the hospital on April 23, 2002 – at the age of three – for treatment of alleged consumption of insecticide by him.
In weeks and months ahead, the hospital virtually became his second home where he was admitted repeatedly for treatment of various injuries ranging from fractured ribs to bleeding skull and smashed teeth and all the time with a starved look. The Delhi police had filed a charge sheet in the matter against the couple for attempt to murder in 2009, four years after the Delhi High Court ordered a probe into the case.
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