Manjunath Shanmugham: Pride of his parents, Machan for his friends

Manjunath Shanmugham: Pride of his parents, Machan for his friends
Manjunath Shanmugham: Pride of his parents, Machan for his friends
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The News Minute | March 11, 2015 | 12.33 pm IST

The oldest of three siblings, Manjunath Shanmugham, was fondly known as “Machan”.

A native of Karnataka, Shanmugham graduated from IIM Lucknow in 2003 and went on to work for Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL).

“In spite of having taken an educational loan to study, which he had to repay through EMIs, Manjunath never agreed to take bribes”, Shanmugham’s father said, “… the price for which he had to pay.”

On November 19, 2005, Shanmugham was shot dead when he had gone to inspect a petrol pump in Gola Gokarannath town of Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, where he was posted.

His murderers had shot him six times and left his bullet-riddled body in the back seat of his car, which was recovered by the Maholi police of Sitapur district, the next morning.

Shanmugham was just 27 years old then.

Now, almost a decade later the Supreme Court has upheld the life sentences of the men convicted of murdering Shanmugham, for exposing the adulteration of petroleum at IOCL outlets in the village.

As a sales officer for IOCL, he was responsible for uncovering the adulteration of petroleum carried out by the gasoline mafia.

Pawan Kumar alias Monu Mittal, Devesh Agnihotri, Rakesh Anand, Vivek Sharma, Shivkesh Giri alias Lalla Giri, Rajesh Verma, Harish Misra and Sanjay Awasthi, were convicted of murder by sessions judge S M Abdi.

In 2009, the Allahabad High Court commuted the death sentence of main accused Pawan Kumar Mittal to life imprisonment, and acquitted Harish Mishra and Sanjay Awasthi.

Shanmugham’s father, M Shanmughan, though devastated by his son’s loss, has always been vocal about how proud he is of him for not accepting bribes and to stand against corruption, even though it eventually cost him his life.

On the fateful day, Shanmugham’s father was trying to get through to him. When he got no news from his son, he sent him a SMS asking "How are you?".

He never received a reply to his SMS.

"I am really happy with the Supreme Court's verdict. I hope the men will remain in jail for the rest of their lives", Shanmugham's father told The News Minute.

Shanmugham studied engineering from SJCE college in Mysuru and later graduated with an MBA from IIM Lucknow in 2003. He was also a vocalist with the campus band, which made him a well-known face on campus.

He was placed with IOCL through campus recruitment.

The National Film Development Corporation co-produced a film on him, titled “Manjunath”, which was directed by Sandeep Varma. Varma spoke to his family, friends, and his classmates at IIM and created a portrait of a man who was fun-loving. The movie also focused on the circumstances that led to his death and the court case that followed.

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