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Staines murder:Dara challenges conviction

August 16, 2005 17:13 IST

 Dara Singh, who was sentenced to life for the murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his 2 minor sons, on Tuesday challenged his conviction in the Supreme Court.

Dara, whose death penalty was commuted into life imprisonment by the Orissa high court, contended that his conviction was merely upheld on the basis of presumption of his presence at the site of the incident as the mob was shouting slogans in his name.

Also read: Dara's condition serious

"The conviction of Dara is solely on the basis of mere presumption, which is contrary to the principles of criminal justice and devoid of law," the petition filed by his counsel Sibo Sankar Mishra said.

The high court on May 19 had set aside Rabindra Pal Singh alias Dara Singh's death sentence for the murder of Staines and his 2 minor sons, Philip (10) and Timothy (6). However, it had upheld life imprisonment to Dara for being part of an unlawful assembly that burnt them alive.

Also read: Key CBI witness identifies Dara

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 that had sparked worldwide outrage in 1999.

Holding that there was absolutely no evidence on record to show that it was due to the individual act of Dara Singh alone that the 3 persons or any of them had died, the high court had quashed  the capital punishment to him.


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