Eight accused out of 11 including Kausalya's father Chinnasamy were found guilty of Sankar's murder.

No question about guilt TN court convicts Kausalyas father in Sankar caste killing From left: Sankar, Kausalya, Chinnasamy, Annalakshmi
news Crime Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 12:24

More than a year-and-a-half after a caste hate crime captured on camera shook the state of Tamil Nadu, a court in Tiruppur has convicted the main accused in the Sankar murder case, Chinnasamy, who is Sankar's wife Kausalya's father. Sankar was a Dalit man who was murdered in broad daylight for marrying Kausalya, a caste Hindu woman. 

Chinnasamy – the father of Kausalya – and the other accused were charged under sections 120B  (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 302 (punishment for murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and SC ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. 

The judge pronounced that Accused 4 to Accused 9 are the executioners in the case whereas Accused 1 - Chinnasamy - is the mastermind of the murder plot. The other people who have been convicted are Jagadeesan, Manikandan (Palani), Selvakumar, Kala Tamilvaanan alias Tamil, Mathan alias Michael, Dhanraj alias Tamil alias Stephan, and  Manikandan (Pattiveeranpatty).  

At the time of writing, the judge did not address A2, A3, A10 - who are, Kausalya's mother, her uncle and two people who gave rooms to the killers. And therefore there is no clarity on whether these three people will be found guilty or not. 

In the court, Justice Alamelu Natarajan asked Chinnasamy what punishment he should get while saying that there was no question of his guilt. To this Chinnasamy replied that he should be given minimum punishment. He maintained that he had nothing to do with the crime and also appealed to the judge saying he had a son who is studying. 

Each of the accused in the case similarly claimed that they were innocent in the murder of Sankar. At this point, the judge lost her cool and said that she wasn't asking about their innnocence. "I am asking what do you think about what punishment you deserve," Justice Natarajan said. 

Kausalya, reacting to the verdict, told media persons that she will comment on the judgment only after she reads it. 

22-year-old Sankar, a Dalit man, was hacked to death in broad daylight early last year for marrying 20-year-old Kausalya, who belongs to the Thevar caste, an influential OBC community.

Kausalya's parents arrive at Tiruppur district court

Read more: An undying pride in caste: Thevar prejudice returns with fury at Kausalya’s home

The verdict comes 21 months after the ghastly murder, which took place on March 13, 2016.

The planned killing took place at Udumalaipettai when the couple had only been married for eight months. Four killers, designated by Kausalya’s father Chinnasamy, set out to kill Sankar on March 13 last year.

CCTV footage of the caste killing, showed three men coming on a motorbike and attacking the couple, who was out shopping in Udumalaipettai on that fateful day. Using sickles, they hacked Sankar to death, even as Kausalya resisted their blows. While Sankar succumbed to his injuries, his wife survived the horrific attack, and is the prime witness in the case.

Prior to the murder, Kausalya’s family had already made several attempts to separate the couple, including threats, kidnapping Kausalya and had even offered Rs 10 lakh to Sankar to break up the marriage. But when he refused to take the money and leave Kausalya, the plan was hatched to kill them. 

Kausalya's uncle, another accused in the case

The evidence

When TNM spoke to Special Public Prosecutor in the case, U Sankaranarayanan appointed by the Tamil Nadu government, he revealed that the conspiracy was hatched by Chinnasamy, his wife Annalakshmi and maternal uncle Pandi Durai.

Once they decided to kill the couple, Chinnasamy approached a distant relative, a man who already had a criminal background, Jagadeesan. Jagadeesan roped in four daily wage labourers to execute the plan and commit the murder. These four men, Selvakumar, Manikandan, Michael and Kalai Tamilselvan, were also accused in other crimes, including murder.

One of the crucial pieces of evidence in the case is a sum of Rs 50,000 that Chinnasamy withdrew from his bank account to pay the four men. He met them at a hotel in Palani and gave them the amount. The name under which the hotel booking was made also became an incriminating piece of evidence.

“There are also two more important witnesses. An auto driver named Venugopal and a food vendor named Ramasamy had witnessed the attack. They are also clearly visible in the footage. They tried to intervene, but were immediately threatened off by the killers,” the Special Public Prosecutor told TNM.

Sankaranarayanan had said then that the forensic evidence from both the couple’s clothes, the CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts would be enough to incriminate the three men who attacked the couple and killed Sankar. 

Read more: A cash deal, a hotel room and Kausalya’s words: The evidence in Sankar murder case

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