It's gallows for three child killers in Shimla (Lead)

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Shimla : It's gallows for the three persons who kidnapped and killed four-year-old Yug Gupta, their neighbour and son of a businessman, after enticing him with a chocolate some four years ago.

Shimla District and Sessions Judge Virender Singh on Wednesday pronounced the verdict in a jam-packed court awarding capital punishment to all three convicts -- Chander Sharma, Tajender Singh and Vikrant Bakshi -- for murdering the child after failing to get a ransom of Rs 3.6 crore.

The victim's parents and grandmother were in tears when the sentence was pronounced.

"We finally got justice and my son will now rest in peace," Yug's father Vinod Gupta told IANS.

The family and lawyers had been awaiting the pronouncement of quantum of punishment since morning. As the District and Sessions Judge came in the court at 2 p.m. he read the operative part of nearly 800-page judgment.

The judge had declared them killers on August 6.

Within one month of the trial court verdict, all three accused can move the high court against the decision.

"There is enough evidence against the convicts. I don't think they will get any relief from the higher court," District Attorney R.S. Parmar told IANS.

A satisfied defence counsel added that it was a case of justice being delivered despite odds wherein influence, money and even threats were made to deny justice.

He said the investigating team had enough evidence collected scientifically, such as the recovery of the mobile phones of the convicts and a mobile video of the child torture that substantiated their involvement in the crime.

Yug's skeletal remains were recovered from a municipal water supply tank in August 2016, two years after he was reported missing. The child had been tortured, starved and forced to consume liquor before he was thrown into the tank after tying the body.

The police had charged three youths, who were the victim's neighbours, with murder. They had been in police custody since their arrest on August 22, 2016.

A chargesheet filed by the Himachal Pradesh police's Crime Investigation Department (CID) on October 25, 2017, said the child had been missing from his residence since June 14, 2014.

The accused kept on demanding the ransom even after killing the child, said the CID. On June 27, 2016, the family received a ransom letter demanding Rs 3.6 crore. This was followed by three more ransom letters.

An angry crowd had thrashed the two accused, Chander Sharma and Tajinder Singh, in August 2017 within the district court complex when they were taken there for a court hearing.

The state capital had witnessed demonstrations and candlelight marches after the crime. Even one of the accused participated in the demonstrations, seeking justice for the child.

Investigation revealed that Chander, a law student at Himachal Pradesh University and a tenant of Yug's father, hatched the conspiracy to kidnap the child for ransom. The accused demanded Rs 3.6 crore from his father.

A video grab on Vikrant's mobile phone, in which he was seen pleading for his life, led to breakthrough in the case. The CID arrested the three on August 22, 2016.

The accused had made ransom calls to the family even after killing the child.

Tajender Singh runs a shop here, while Vikrant is an engineering student.

The police investigation had revealed Chander Sharma was the mastermind in the crime and was known for flaunting his lavish lifestyle.