Himachal court upholds conviction in Kachroo ragging case

Shimla, April 4 (IANS) Four convicts punished for the 2009 ragging death of medical student Aman Kachroo will have to cough up an additional fine of Rs.90,000 each, the Himachal Pradesh High Court ruled Thursday while upholding their conviction.

Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma, on whom a penalty of Rs.10,000 each was imposed by the trial court in 2010, spent three years and five months in jail before the state government waived their remaining seven-month jail term in August last year.

A division bench of Justice R.B. Misra and Justice Surinder Singh rejected the convict’s appeal seeking relief and enhanced the fine from Rs.10,000 each to Rs.90,000 each.

The prosecution sought enhanced punishment under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code on charges of murder, not under Sections 304 II that deals with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The convicts filed the appeal within one month of being held guilty by the trial court Nov 11, 2010.

Aman Kachroo, 19, was a student of the Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital at Tanda town in Kangra district since 2007. He died March 8, 2009, after he was ragged by his four drunk seniors.

Responding to the high court’s decision to enhance the fine, Aman’s father Rajendar Kachroo said the judiciary has sent a strong signal that ragging would not be tolerated.

“It has put out a correct signal that ragging is a serious matter and it should not be taken lightly,” he told IANS over telephone from Gurgaon, adjoining the national capital.

The convicts were held guilty under Sections 304 II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 34 (common intent) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by Purinder Vaidya, additional district and sessions judge, in Dharamsala, after 20 months of trial.

After the convicts were offered relief by the state government and released last year from jail seven months before the end of their four-year sentence, Aman’s friends had launched protests.

The decision drew sharp reaction from Aman’s father, Rajendar Kachroo, who termed the release a fatal blow to the nation’s fight against ragging.

“I’m sorry for the ignorance of the Himachal Pradesh government for they do not see that ragging is a serious issue in our country,” Kachroo had said.

Kachroo is currently monitoring the National Ragging Prevention Programme on behalf of the University Grants Commission.

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