Twelve men were given the death penalty by a district court in Andhra Pradesh, in a case of serial killings, in which 13 people were murdered. The Eighth Additional Sessions Court in Ongole pronounced the quantum of punishment on Monday, in mutliple cases of highway robbery and murder from 2008. Along with the main accused Md Abdul Sammad (alias Munna), 11 of his accomplices received the death penalty. Four other accomplices were sentenced to life imprisonment for their involvement in the cases in which 13 people, most of them lorry drivers and cleaners, were waylaid and killed while driving goods-laden trucks on the Kolkata-Chennai national highway. Of the total 18 people accused, two persons were sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and seven years imprisonment.
The case of truckers and their goods-laden trucks disappearing on the national highway in Prakasam district in 2008 had baffled the police. Munna and his accomplices were arrested after a case was booked by the Ongole police based on a complaint from a lorry owner from Tamil Nadu named Veerappan Kuppuswami, when the driver and cleaner of his lorry went missing along with the truck. Based on further investigation, police booked Munnaâ€™s gang in multiple cases of dacoity and murder. Investigations showed that the gang had murdered 13 lorry drivers and cleaners over a period of several months, according to the Times of India.
According to the police, Munna and his accomplices would target goods-laden trucks from other states. Posing as police officers on the national highway, they would stop the trucks, and demand to see their papers. They would then seek a lift, strangle the unsuspecting truck drivers and cleaners, and bury their bodies in isolated locations in the surrounding forests. The truck would then be taken to Munnaâ€™s garage in Ongole, where it would be dismantled and its parts sold off. The gang was convicted in four of the seven cases filed against them on May 18, while the quantum of punishment was pronounced on May 24.
(With IANS inputs)