Four convicted in Aman Kachru ragged-to-death case

Thursday, November 11, 2010

DHARAMSALA - A court here Thursday held four medical students guilty of ragging to death their junior Aman Kachru in March last year.

Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma from the Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital in Tanda in Kangra district were found guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder by Additional District and Sessions Judge Purinder Vaidya.

After the judgment, Amans father Rajendra Kachru said: Its a historic one but for me the matter will end only when ragging stops across the country. It hardly matters to me whether they are convicted under culpable homicide or murder charges.

Aman, 19, who did his schooling from DPS International in New Delhi and was in the college since 2007, died March 8 last year after he was ragged by the four drunk seniors.

The quantum of punishment against those who ragged him, leading to his death, will be pronounced later in the day.

The prosecution is demanding higher punishment under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code on charges of murder.

The prosecution pleaded that Aman was brutally beaten up under the garb of ragging by his seniors and they should be convicted for murder.

“The government may move the high court against the decision of the trial court of convicting the students under culpable homicide and not under charges of murder,” Special Public Prosecutor Jiwan Lal Sharma told IANS.

A day earlier, Rajendra Kachru, who is based in Gurgaon, had sent an email to the media stating: Prevention, not punishment, should be the purpose of criminal justice. Punishment should be looked upon as part of prevention rather than as an emotional compensation or an eye for an eye.”

He said Aman had written in his last note that ragging must be stopped. The campaign for justice for Aman will be over when his wish will be fulfilled, he added.

The fast-track court had framed charges against the accused Aug 13, 2009, and reserved its verdict after hearing the arguments of the prosecution and defence Oct 30 this year. During the trial the court recorded the statements of 38 witnesses, comprising doctors, police personnel and Rajendra Kachru.

Appearing in the court for the first time in the case Aug 28 this year, Rajendra Kachru had said said his son spoke to him in detail about the incident of ragging that took place March 6, 2009.

Aman even told me that he had given in writing a complaint to college authorities regarding the (ragging) incident. Three to four hours after I got the phone call from Aman, somebody informed me on telephone from the college that he had passed away, Kachru said.

The court also re-examined two doctors - Harjeet Pal Singh of the ENT (ear, nose and throat) department, and D.P. Swami, associate professor of forensic medicine department of the hospital. While Singh had examined Amans ears a few hours after the ragging incident, Swami conducted the post-mortem examination.

The autopsy report confirmed the cause of death as neurogenic shock due to ante-mortem head injury — sub-arachnoid haemorrhage.

A Supreme Court appointed committee had also visited the college and found rampant alcoholism on the campus and lack of anti-ragging norms as the reason behind Amans death.

The committee had recommended action against then college principal Suresh Sankhyan, who resigned from the post after the incident and was compulsorily retired by the government last month, just a day before he was to officially retire Oct 31.

“Aman collapsed and died due to injuries which the post-mortem report has linked to the incident of ragging,” said a magisterial inquiry by the state government, holding Sankhyan responsible for the lapses.

The fast-track court Aug 2, 2010, resumed the trial against the accused students after they surrendered on cancellation of their bail by the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

After Amans death, the state government passed an anti-ragging legislation, making ragging a cognisable, non-bailable offence.

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