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Friday, April 27, 2001

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5-year RI for accused in Sarika case

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, APRIL 26. All the nine accused in the sensational `Sarika Shah eve-teasing death case' were today convicted by a Sessions Court here, and sentenced to five years' rigorous imprisonment for causing her death.

The incident, which claimed the life of the Ethiraj College student, shook the entire State prompting the Government to pass a stringent legislation against eve-teasing. Passing the orders today, the First Additional Sessions Judge, Mr. C. Chinnappan, said the act was nothing short of barbaric as the accused harassed a young girl and threatened her modesty, ultimately causing her death.

The Judge found the first accused, Hari, guilty under the provisions of Section 509, 354 and 304 (2) of the IPC, and awarded him five-year RI besides a fine of Rs. 8,000. In case of non-payment of fine he will undergo six more months of imprisonment. The other accused-Saravanan, Panneer Selvam, Sridhar, Vinodh, Sridhar, Pugalendhi, Murugan and Prabhakar-were also awarded five-year RI in addition to Rs. 8,000 fine each for offences under Sections 509, 354 read with 34 and 304(2) IPC.

On July 18, 1998, the drunken, autorickshaw-borne gang, returning from a Youth Congress meeting in the city, splashed water from sachets on Sarika and her friend Kavitha, who were walking along the road. Going a step further, Hari fell on Sarika who lost balance in the impact and fell, sustaining severe head injuries.

She died in hospital on July 27. Though the registration number of the autorickshaw was not noted down in the commotion, the police pursued the investigation vigorously, tracing the vehicle as well as the gang members involved. The case, initially registered as ``road accident'' was converted into a case of murder following press reports.

``Nervous and feeling outraged on the middle of the road, the victim collapsed sustaining fatal head injuries in the process'', the Judge observed while awarding the sentence.

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