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SC says convict deserved death but awards LI

New Delhi: Even while admitting that the husband deserved death penalty for roasting alive his wife and four minor daughters, the Supreme Court has refrained from awarding capital punishment to him as he was enjoying freedom for 6 years after the high court`s acquittal order.

A bench of justices H S Bedi and C K Prasad regretted its inability to award death penalty to Vishweshwar Kol but castigated the Madhya Pradesh High Court and awarded life imprisonment to the convict.

The apex court said the sessions court had rightly awarded death sentence to Kol for the brutality with which he killed the victims but the high court committed an error by acquitting him on flimsy reasonings.

According to the prosecution, on October 19, 2003, Kol had set ablaze his wife Leelawati Bai, daughters Sandhya(6), Lovely (3), Madhu (1) and Jyoti (11) by dousing them with kerosene at about 1 am while they were fast asleep.

Though Jyothi tried to escape, she succumbed to the injuries after making a dying declaration against her father.

The provocation for the gruesome killings was said to be the strained relations between the couple.

The sessions court, holding the incident the rarest of rare crime, awarded death sentence to Kol.

But the high court acquitted him by taking the view that the dying declaration was not inspiring to establish Kol`s culpability in the crime.

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