Dharmapuri bus burning: SC commutes death sentence to life imprisonment

New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence of C. Muniappan and two others who were given capital punishment for their involvement in the 2000 Dharmapuri bus burning case.

Three students of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University were burnt to death in the wake of an agitation by AIADMK activists protesting against the conviction of J. Jayalalithaa in Pleasant Stay Hotel case.

The apex court bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment after hearing plea by Muniappan, Nedu@ Nedunchezhian and Maadhu@ Ravindran seeking the recall of August 30, 2010, top court verdict upholding their death sentence.

The bench passed the order on Friday afternoon after hearing the plea by the death row convict spread over two days.

The Salem trial court convicted the three of them on February 16, 2007. On December 6, 2007, the Madras High Court dismissed the appeal by the three convicts. On August 30, 2010, the apex court upheld their conviction and award of death sentence.

In February 2000, three agriculture university girl students were burnt alive and several others sustained burns when the bus they were travelling in was set on fire by AIADMK activists protesting party chief J. Jayalalithaa’s conviction in the Kodaikanal Pleasant Stay Hotel unauthorised construction case.

A Chennai court had in February 2000 convicted and sentenced Jayalalithaa and four others to a one-year jail term each for legalising the unauthorised construction of the seven-storeyed Pleasant Stay Hotel at Kodaikanal when she was the chief minister 1991-96. This had triggered a state wide agitation.

Three college students – Kokilavani, Gayathri and Hemalatha — were charred to death after the bus they were travelling in along with 44 other students and two teachers was allegedly torched by Muniappan, Nedu@ Nedunchezhian and Maadhu@ Ravindran on February 2, 2000, after the conviction of AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa in Pleasant Stay Hotel case.

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