New Delhi: The Madras High Court on Thursday upheld a Salem court’s sentences to 28 convicts, including the three awarded death penalty, in the Dharmapuri bus burning case.
The Salem court had held three AIADMK functionaries and 25 other people guilty in the bus burning incident of 2000 in which three students of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University had been burnt alive in a mob violence following the conviction of AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa in the Kodaikanal Pleasant Stay Hotel case.
There were a total of 31 accused in the case. While two were acquitted, one person died during the trial.
A near 30-minute video clipping of the bus burning incident shot by a Dharmapuri-based private photographer was one of prime piece of evidence that established the prosecution's case at the court of the Salem First Additional District Sessions Judge D Krishna Raja.
The clipping showed the burning bus and the girls crying for help and their friends' frantic efforts to save them. It also showed a white police jeep that did not stop while passing through the spot.
The verdict in the case came after a seven-year-long trial. In 2003, the Madras High Court had scrapped the on-going trial in a Krishnagiri court and ordered a retrial in a Salem court following a petition that said the sensational bus burning case was going the Best Bakery way at the Krishnagiri court.
Recently, one of the victim's father had filed a petition seeking to enhance the sentence of seven years awarded to the 25 accused.
After hearing elaborate arguments from both sides, a division bench of Justice D Murugesan and Justice V Periya Karuppiah had reserved orders without mentioning any dates on the appeals and the petition.