SRINAGAR: A court in Kulgam has awarded a lifer to a murderer. Since the accused has been in jail for 12 years already, this period of detention will be set off from the imprisonment awarded to the convict, the judgement by Tahir Khurshid Raina, the Principal Sessions Judge Kulgam has ruled.
The tragedy that struck Mirhama village of Kulgam in June 2010 has interesting details.
A son, Mohammad Altaf Paddar had a dispute with his father, Ali Mohammad, apparently the outcome of his second marriage. They were living separately with the son in Mirhama and the father – with his second wife – in Qazigund. The two had a dispute over the proceeds sale of poplar timber as well.
Son was tired of his father’s behaviour. He axed some poplars of his father and raised some money and literally gave supari of his father to a person, named Shahijahan Paddar. The total amount that changed hands for the murder was Rs 50,000, according to the details mentioned in the 135-page judgement.
Then, there was a twist. Almost 10 days after paying for his father’s head in anticipation, the son and father had a patch-up. Now, the son started seeking his money back. Shahjahan refused to pay – because he, according to one prosecution witness had lost the money in gambling – and instead abducted him and killed him brutally. Altaf Paddar’s hugely disfigured body was recovered from an apple orchard that two natives of Pombay own. It was identified as that of Altaf and, according to police, the accused admitted to the guilt. They recovered some phones, the axe, stones and other things used in the commissioning of the crime. The accused had disfigured the head, face, mouth and burnt the identity card of the deceased in order to destroy the evidence.
Altaf’s widow deposed before the court saying that the eyes and brain of her husband had been thrown out and all the head bones were broken with an axe hitting the forehead. The doctor who oversaw the autopsy has deposed before the court saying that cause of death was “serious brain damage causing cardiorespiratory arrest”.
Initially, after the dead body was recovered, the murder looked like a blind one. The residents actually came out in protest asking police to arrest everybody who is linked to the killing. This led to the arrest of Ali Mohammad Padder, the deceased’s father also. However, police set all of them after they were convinced of their non-involvement.
Ali Padder, the father of the slain, told the court that the accused had chased him for three days but could not get a chance to harm him. Ali lives in Qazigund with his second wife after divorcing the first one. On the fourth day, he visited Mirhama where the local residents told him to given his son some land so that he can construct a house. A day later, he was killed by Shahjahan. One witness has mentioned that Ali Padder had worked with the STF.
The judgement has briefly summarised the case like this: “..the deceased was having a grudge against his father for not acknowledging his due share in the property and also not coming to his help as his father who has solemnized a second marriage and was living with his second wife. Finally, he engaged the accused as a contract killer of his father and paid him Rs.50,000/- as a consideration amount for the said contract to be materialized. However, few days before the date fixed for the same, the deceased had entered into a compromise with the father and the relationship resumed between the two. Now the deceased son took a U-turn about his plan of killing his father through a contract killer. He demanded his money back from the accused on account of his reconciliation with the father. The accused did not agree for return and made a plan to kill the deceased. He on 25th of April, 2010, went to the residence of the deceased at Mirhama in the evening, took him along to get his dispute settled with his father. However, on the intervening night of
25th/26th of April, 2010, he killed the deceased and executed his plan successfully. And in the morning the dead body of the deceased was found.”
The accused was formally arrested on April 30, 2010.
“Accused stand charged and tried for commission of offences under section 364, 302 and 201 RPC. Section 364 RPC relates to “kidnapping or abduction of any person in order that such person may be murdered or may be disposed of as to be put in danger of being murdered…….” Section 302 RPC talks of commission of murder and Section 201 relates to disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screan offender,” the judgement reads. “Of all the evidence on record, it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that accused by playing a deceit with the deceased, took him along in evening from his residence and later at a distant place killed him by an Axe, the weapon of offence being carried by him. When he found him dead, searched his clothes and found mobile and identity card. The said identity card he burnt and also disfigured the face so as to hid the identity of the deceased. All these incriminating facts when clubbed together match with the ingredients of all the three offences for which accused stand charged and tried.”
The quantum of punishment was delivered later as the accused was put on virtual mode from Central Jail Srinagar. “I am of the considered view that in the facts and circumstances of this case as revealed in the preceding paras, the life imprisonment is the appropriate punishment to be awarded to the convict for commission of murder of the deceased with fine @ Rs.10,000/- (Rupees Ten Thousand only),” the judge ruled. “For the commission of offence under section 364 RPC, I award him ten years imprisonment with fine @ Rs.5,000/- (Five Thousand Only) likewise for the commission of offence under section 201 RPC, I award him three years imprisonment and fine @ Rs.5000/- (Rupees Five Thousand Only).. All the sentences to run concurrently. The period of detention already undergone by the convict has to be set off to the total imprisonment awarded to him. In case of non-payment of fine, he will further undergo imprisonment of 6 months that too will run concurrently.”