Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Nayagarh, Feb 22:
In a historic verdict, the Nayagarh District and Sessions Court, for the first time, on Saturday sentenced 67 persons and slapped a penalty of Rs 2.68 lakh and three more months of jail should they not pay the fine, in a decade-old case in which a group of men had looted and ransacked the house of a family of Godipada village.
As per the report, 35 families, including the family of Nalini Dalei of Damasahi used to stay in a reserved forest land after conversion at Pradhanjhola under Godipada police outpost.
On July 30, 2004, some men from the village broke into his house and looted all valuables including cash and jewellery. They also ransacked his house and felled trees in their land.
Later, Nalini, one of the family members, lodged a complaint against 70 people with Godipada Police Outpost.
Police later registered a case and arrested 70 people and forwarded them to court under section 147,148,395,354,454,427,294,149 of IPC and 25 and 27 of Arms Act. The charge sheet was filed on April 6, 2005.
The accused were later released on bail while the case was under trial over the past 10 years.
While the verdict came out yesterday, three men were already dead and the rest 67 were found guilty as per evidence provided by three policemen along with 10 other witnesses by Nayagarh District and Sessions Judge Bikram Keshari Chinara who sentenced each to two-years jail term and a fine of Rs 2000 as per section 427 of IPC and one-year extra jail term and a fine of Rs 2000 each. In case of refusal or inability to pay the fine, they will have to serve another three-month prison term.
The court also directed to pay the victim Rs 1 lakh from the fine collected from the accused.
Meanwhile, the accused have decided to move the Odisha High Court against the order. The validity of the bail bond is one month.
Government counsellor Braja Kishore Pradhan argued the case on behalf of Nalini.