Prabhjot Singh, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh/Dubai, September 4. The fate of 17 Indian boys whose death sentence in a bootlegging-cum-murder case was waived in September last year would be known on September 16 when a Civil Court hearing a petition for compensation for injured victims pronounces its final verdict.
The case which came up before the Civil Court has been adjourned till September 16 where the defence has been asked to produce the orders of the Supreme Court.
Mishri Khan, a Pakistani boy, was killed and two others were injured in a clash between two groups of expatriate workers in Sharjah in 2009. The Sharjah police prosecuted 17 Indian boys on the charges of arson, bootlegging and murder. The accused were sentenced to death. All convicts are from Punjab and Haryana.
Subsequently, the Indian Consul-General in Dubai hired a battery of lawyers to appeal against the death sentence in the Appeal Court of Sharjah.
Before the Appeal Court could come out with its verdict, it asked the defence if it wanted to go for settlement under Diya (payment of blood money to the next of kin of the victims). Dubai-based businessman and hotelier SP Singh Oberoi paid the blood money (Pakistani Rs 8 crore) to the family of Mishri Khan. On September 12 last year, the court accepted and endorsed the settlement under Diya and waived the death sentence of all 17 convicts. In its revised sentence, it awarded them two years of imprisonment for the other offences, including bootlegging. Since they had already completed almost three years in Sharjah jail, the court also ordered their release subsequent to clearance from other internal security agencies.
On September 23 last year, when all 17 Indian boys were about to go back to India, a civil petition was preferred by two of the injured victims. Unfortunately for these boys, some days earlier even the Supreme Court also amended the final order of the Appeal Court. They were sent back to the jail.
The Supreme Court remanded the case back to the Appeal Court Sharjah for fresh order on the charges of selling and consuming liquor. Subsequently, the Appeal Court warded them additional six months imprisonment for these two offences. Since they have already undergone all the imprisonments, the final verdict on September 16 may pave the way for their return to India, says Oberoi, who has been following the case from the beginning.