The Bombay High Court in Goa on Monday upheld the 2014 order of the Goa Children’s Court of life imprisonment for four accused in the murder of teenager Mandar Surlakar in 2006.
All the four accused – Rohan Dhungat, Jovito Ryan Pinto, Nafiyaz Sheikh and Shankar Tiwari – were law college students who were arrested in 2006 for the murder of DJ Mandar. They abducted Mandar and also demanded a ransom of ₹. 50 lakh.
A Division Bench of Justices Prithviraj Chavan and M.S. Sonak, in their judgement, said the life imprisonment of the accused is upheld. The High Court bench, however, declined the plea of the victim’s father Deepak Surlakar, to order the four accused to undergo life imprisonment for the remainder of their natural lives without any remission.
The Court also upheld the Children’s Court’s orders extending the benefit of Section 428 of CrPC for remission by the Executive authority, but by clarifying that the benefit of such set-off can be availed by the four only in the event the appropriate authority makes orders for remission or commutation.
The murder case dates back to August 14, 2006, when Mandar was abducted and taken to the home of one of the accused, where they assaulted and tied him with ropes and forced him to record a message to his father to pay a ransom, without reporting the matter to the police.
The same day, a demand was made to the victim’s father for a ransom of ₹ 50 lakhs. The victim’s father thereupon approached the Vasco Police.
The next day, Mandar’s body was discovered at Keri, near Ponda in South Goa. Mandar was found to be killed by strangulation and assaulted on his head with baseball bats. The post-mortem reports declared it a homicidal death.
In all, five youths were arrested and the case went before the Goa Children’s Court as the victim was a minor. During the course of the investigations, one of the accused, Al Saleha Beig, turned approver and disclosed details of the conspiracy and its execution. He was pardoned by the Children’s Court.
The remaining four accused have been serving their sentences in the Central Jail at Colvale in North Goa.