Life-long jail term bizman for killing wife, two kids

Commuting the death penalty given to a businessman for killing his wife and two children, the Delhi High Court has awarded him life imprisonment saying it would imply jail term for "the rest of his life."

A division bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Pratibha refused to confirm the death sentence of businessman Naveen Ahuja's and commuted it to the life-long imprisonment saying despite his shocking crime, the convict cannot be said to be "irredeemable as a human being."

"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." the court said.

"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 had awarded Ahuja death penalty in October 2010 saying "life imprisonment was an inadequate punishment" and the case was the "rarest of rare" one.

According to the prosecution, Ahuja, facing financial crisis, had first shot dead his wife Meenu with a country-made pistol and had then strangled his minor daughter and son.

He later threw the bodies of his minor children to the ground from his seventh floor apartment at Dwarka in West Delhi July 18, 2005.

While the two children died instantaneously, his wife had battled for life in a city hospital, but later succumbed to her injuries. Ahuja had later surrendered before police and said he had committed the act in a fit of rage, the prosecution had said.

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