Mahipal had been posted as Sharma’s PSO for one-and-a-half years and had no previous record of misconduct, police had said. (File photo)
Almost 16 months after the wife and son of an Additional Sessions Judge were shot dead by his Personal Security Officer (PSO) in Gurgaon, a district court Thursday held the accused guilty under various sections of the Arms Act and IPC, including Section 302 (murder).
“He has been held guilty under offences 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of the IPC, and Section 27 of the Arms Act. The arguments on the quantum of sentence will take place tomorrow (Friday),” said Public Prosecutor Anurag Hooda.
“Since capital punishment can be given for 302, this is what we will argue for,” he said.
Defence advocate P S Sharma, meanwhile, said, “This should be a case of 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), not 302… there was no premeditation, no intention, and it has been inferred by the statements given by the complainant. Everything happened within five minutes, there is no question of it coming under 302… Tomorrow is the argument on quantum of sentence, after that when we see the judgment, we will decide on future plans regarding appeal, but we will definitely appeal in this case.”
The incident took place on October 13, 2018, at the Arcadia market in Sector 49, where the PSO, Mahipal, opened fire on Judge Kishan Kant Sharma’s wife, Ritu, and his 18-year-old son, Dhruv. In videos recorded by bystanders, after the shooting, Mahipal could be seen trying to haul the teenager’s body into the Honda City car in which they had arrived. Failing to do so, however, he sped away in the vehicle.
Ritu been shot twice and succumbed to injuries the same night. Her son, who had been shot thrice died 10 days later.
The PSO was arrested two hours after the crime, on Gwal Pahari road. He had been posted as Sharma’s PSO for over a year and had no previous record of misconduct, police had said.
Terming the case one of “cold blooded murder”, police said the incident occurred in the “heat of the moment” when the judge’s relatives rebuked the PSO for being untraceable when they returned to the car after shopping.
The chargesheet had been filed on December 26, 2018, and charges were framed on January 9 last year. The prosecution relied on CCTV footage as well as accounts of two bystanders, and forensic evidence — such as the facts that gunpowder was found in Mahipal’s hand swabs, and his fingerprints on the revolver — to make their case. The final hearing took place on February 3.
While the prosecution argued that the PSO had shot down two people without any provocation, the defence had argued that the shooting was a case of “accidental firing”.
“He had told us that the boy tried to grab the car keys and pistol from his hand, and the weapon accidentally went off in that scuffle,” said Mahipal’s uncle, who was in court.
Mahipal, a father of two girls, aged 5 and 8, hails from Kosli in Rewari. His wife taught Hindi at a private school in Delhi while he was deployed as Sharma’s PSO, but has since left her job and moved to Rewari, where she stays with her parents and teaches at a nearby school.
Mahipal is the only son of a farmer.
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