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HC upholds life sentence of Belu, associates

Cuttack: Orissa High Court has upheld the conviction and sentence awarded by a lower court to Surendra Das alias Belu, the kingpin of 1992 Cuttack hooch tragedy and four others in connection with the murder of a police informer in 2001.

A division bench of the HC comprising Justices B P Das and M M Das on Saturday upheld the lower court`s order observing that there is no infirmity or illegality in them. Belu and his accomplices, including one of his brothers were convicted by a local fast track court in 2005 of murder and criminal conspiracy in the case and were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The convicts subsequently had moved Orissa High Court challenging the lower court`s order.
Belu, his brother Ramachandra and three accomplices were convicted under section 302 and 120(B) of IPC for killing Patnaik. The police informer was found dead lying in a pool of blood near a hotel in Kesharpur area of the city on April 26, 2001.

The lower court found Belu and his brother, who were then lodged in Choudwar circle jail for their involvement in Cuttack hooch tragedy, to have masterminded the murder with the help of their accomplices. The man was summoned to a hotel by the accomplices and shot dead from close.

More than 200 people had died in the 1992 Cuttack hooch tragedy, considered as one of the worst in the country.

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