The Bombay High Court on Monday upheld the death penalty awarded to four persons for murdering three Dalit men in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district in 2013 over an inter-caste love affair.
Another accused in the six-year-old case was acquitted by the high court.
In January 2018, a sessions court in Nashik had awarded the death sentence to six persons - Raghunath Darandale, Ramesh Darandale, Prakash Darandale, Ganesh alias Pravin Darandale, Ashok Navgire and Sandeep Kurhe - in the murder case in Ahmednagar district.
They were convicted on various charges, including murder and criminal conspiracy. The Dalit victims were identified as Sachin Gharu (24), Sandeep Thanvar (25) and Rahul Kandare (20) and all of them worked as sweepers.
All six had moved the HC, challenging their conviction and the capital punishment awarded by the Nashik court. One of the convicts, Raghunath Darandale, died during the pendency of the case.
On Monday, a division bench of Justices B P Dharamadhikari and B P Shinde confirmed the death penalty on four of the convicts - Ramesh Darandale, Prakash Darandale, Ganesh alias Pravin Darandale and Sandeep Kurhe.
The court, however, acquitted Ashok Navgire (32) for lack of evidence against him, his lawyer Nitin Satpute said.
Details of the high court judgement were not immediately available.
The three Dalit men were brutally killed in Sonai village of the western Maharashtra district on January 1, 2013, and their mutilated body parts found in a septic tank and a well.
According to police, the killings were prompted by an inter-caste love affair between Gharu and a girl from the Maratha community, to which the accused said to belong.
Gharu and his colleagues were summoned by the girl's family to their home on January 1, 2013, on the pretext of cleaning their septic tank, they had said.
The next evening, the police found Gharus's decapitated body, with his limbs severed, from the tank. The mutilated bodies of Thanvar and Kandare were found from a well in the village on January 3, police had said.
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