Chennai : The Madras High Court Thursday confirmed the death sentence pronounced against three AIADMK members, while disposing of the appeals from the 26 convicted for setting a bus on fire, killing three students in Dharmapuri in 2000.
“The three appellants deserved no mercy because of the heinous nature of the crime,” a division bench of Justices Murugesan and Periya Karuppaiah observed.
The three convicts are Nedu alias Nedunchezhiyan, Maadhu alias Ravichandran and Muniappan.
The court ruled that the sentences of the others, ranging between three and seven years’ rigorous imprisonment, should run concurrently.
A court in Salem later issued a black warrant and fixed Jan 10 as the day for carrying out the death sentence.
Currently lodged in the Coimbatore central prison, the convicts, however, are expected to move the Supreme Court to appeal against the high court ruling.
Legal experts said the chances of the capital punishment being carried out were remote.
The accused said in their defence that the incident had taken place as part of spontaneous protests following the conviction of AIADMK chief and former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa in the Pleasant Stay Hotel corruption case in a fast track court.
Her appeal against it was upheld by the Madras High Court and she was acquitted in 2001. The Supreme Court is yet to pronounce its verdict on an appeal against the acquittal filed by the state’s ruling DMK.