Death penalty of wife, kids' killer reduced to life term

The Delhi High Court has reduced the death penalty to life term of a businessman who killed his wife and two kids, observing that despite the  shocking crime it cannot be said that the convict is "irredeemable as a human being".

A division bench of Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Pratibha Rani said in  recent verdict that the death penalty was not the only sentence fit for Naveen Ahuja's crime and converted the capital punishment awarded by the trial into life sentence.

"Though the heartless nature of the crime is shocking, yet, it cannot be said that the appellant (Ahuja) is irredeemable as a human being; he is not 'shut out from God and man' for the court to say that death penalty is the only sentence fit for his crime, and that it falls within the rarest of rare category of offences," said the court.

"In view of the above discussion, the sentence of death imposed by the trial court is not confirmed, it is accordingly reduced to life imprisonment, which, shall mean the rest of his life," the court said.

The trial court in October 2010, awarded Ahuja death penalty saying "life imprisonment was an inadequate punishment" and the case amounted to "rarest of rare case".

According to the prosecution, Ahuja, who was going through financial crisis, first shot dead his wife Meenu using a country-made pistol and then strangled his minor daughter Manavi.

He later threw the body of his daughter and minor Manav to the ground from his seventh floor apartment at Dwarka in west Delhi July 18, 2005.

While the two children died instantaneously, his wife Meenu struggled for her life in a Delhi hospital and later succumbed to her injuries.

Ahuja later surrendered before police and said he had committed the act in a fit of rage, the prosecution said.

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