Duo who killed merchant navy captain denied bail

The Delhi High Court has denied bail to two men, awarded life sentence by a trial court for murdering a merchant navy captain in 2004 on board a ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

A division bench of Justice Kailash Gambit and Justice Indermeet Kaur, observing the "seriousness of the offence" and the manner in which the crime was committed, refused to grant bail and suspend their punishment till their appeals were pending in the high court.

Vivek Madhok and Shankar Bhatia April 4, 2004 killed captain Rajan Aggarwal in his cabin of MV Crimson Galaxy off Brazil, wrapped his body in a bed cover and threw it into the sea.  Delhi residents Madhok and Bhatia were cadets and undergoing training.

The court, in an order passed Friday, said: "Keeping in view the seriousness of the offence, manner in which the crime is said to have been committed and the evidence collected by the prosecution...and also taking into consideration the peculiarities of the facts of the case where the murderer was only amongst the 20 members on the board of the ship..."

"We are of the view that no case has been made out by the learned counsel for the appellants (convicts) for suspension of sentence and for grant of bail. The applications moved by the appellants deserve to be dismissed..."

The trial court Sep 16 awarded life imprisonment to them after convicting them for murder, common intention and destruction of evidence. Both had later moved the high court filing the appeals against the sentence and its suspension till the disposal of appeals and bail.

The counsels appearing for the duo denied the charges levelled against them and argued both were cadets and there was neither any motive nor any motive proved on record by the prosecution which could prompt or propel them to carry out the murder of their captain under whom they were getting training.

According to the Delhi Police, the ship was loaded with a consignment of soyabean meal and left San Lorenzo in Argentina March 29, 2003. It was bound for El Dekhelia in Egypt.

Aggarwal April 4, 2004 reprimanded Madhok and Bhatia who were watching a movie, for not paying attention to their studies and not completing their allotted work, they said.

Aggarwal asked them to come to his cabin and during arguments, a scuffle took place between Madhok and Aggarwal and the former hit the captain with a bottle, the police said, adding he was strangulated and his body thrown into the sea.

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