High Court upholds conviction of accused in NK Gurung murder case

Gangtok, 05 Aug:

The High Court of Sikkim has upheld the conviction and quantum of punishment awarded to Phurba Tenzing Bhutia, a Sikkim Krantikari Morcha party supporter convicted for the murder of Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party worker Narendra Kumar Gurung in one of the more violent pre-poll episodes of 2014.

The incident had occurred on 04 March, 2014 at Sribadam in West Sikkim.

While dismissing the appeal challenging the order of the trail court at Gyalshing, West Sikkim, the High Court, on 01 August, observed: “… Order on Sentence thereby brooks no interference,” adding that the High Court was of the considered opinion that no infirmity arises in the conclusion of the Trial Court.

However, the High Court has modified the judgment of the trail court to the extent that the Appellant was guilty of the offence under Section 304-Part II of the IPC as against the finding of the Trial Court that it was under Section 304-Part I.

The District and Sessions Court, Gyalshing, had sentenced the Phurba Tenzing Bhutia to rigorous imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of Rs.30,000 under Section 304 Part-I, Section 324 and Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 of IPC which has now been modified to conviction under Section 304-Part II.

In the trial, the accused had alleged “unwarranted interest” of the State Government in the case leading to a bias against him and overlooking medical negligence while referring a critical patient for higher medical treatment in a private vehicle.

While upholding the conviction, the bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai also observed that the contention that the State Government exhibited “exceptional interest” while allocating the investigation to the CID was bereft of merit as “undisputedly a precious young life has been lost and the State is duty bound to ensure that the best investigative efforts are made to bring the culprits to book”.