Four medical students, sentenced to four years imprisonment in Aman Kachru ragging-to-death case of March 2009, were freed from jail nine months before completion of their prison term with the government granting them remission on Independence Day.
The release of the four namely, Abhinav Verma, Mukul Sharma, Navin Verma and Ajay Verma undergoing imprisonment in Dharamsala and Hamirpur jails has upset the family members of Kachru, who had termed the four-year sentence as too less. The chief minister had announced remission in sentence of prisoners whose conduct had been good during their prison term on Independence Day and as many as 111 eleven convicts got remission for good conduct, officials said. The convicts in Aman Kachru ragging-to-death case also got remission on the same account and were released from jail, they said. The four would have completed their sentence in March 2013.
Reacting to the decision of the government, Raj Kachru, father of Aman said, “I am sorry for the ignorance of the Himachal government which did not see ragging as a serious issue in our country”. “When the entire nation is trying to crack down on the practice of ragging, the state government has chosen to go against the will of the entire nation. These students got mild sentences and what was the hurry to release them by giving remission in sentence,” he questioned. Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma of Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital at Tanda town in Kangra district were held guilty on November 11, 2010, by the Additional District and Sessions Judge Purinder Vaidya.
Justifying their release, Director General of Police I D Bhandari said, “The four convicts were released on August 15 as per the provisions of the jail manual”. “It is a normal process and no special concession was given to the four convicts while waiving off their sentences. They were released for good conduct in the jail and did not avail any parole,” he said. But a shattered Kachroo said, “it is a shame to remit their sentences when an appeal filed by the government to enhance the sentence is pending in court”. “I want to appeal to the entire nation to condemn the decision of the Himachal government,” he added.
A senior government counsel said that state moved the high court against the lower court’s verdict on two counts. First, Aman was brutally beaten under the garb of ragging by his seniors and sought higher punishment under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code on charges of murder, not under Sections 304 II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder). The state also felt that the trial court had shown leniency while pronouncing the quantum of punishment. Almost one-and-a-half years have passed since four medicos of government medical College, Tanda (Kangra), all seniors of Aman, were convicted, but so far neither appeal of the government and also the appeal of the convicts against the judgement had been heard. At least six judges of the High Court had recused themselves from hearing the case.
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