Bhubaneswar, Dec 13 (Odisha.in) A court in Orissa convicted two persons on Monday for killing judo master Biranchi Das- who mentored prodigy marathoner Budhia Singh and made him a running sensation, a government lawyer said.
Judge Vivekananda Das of the fast track court III pronounced his judgment in a crowded court here.The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment on Friday.
He held prime accused Sandeep Acharya alias Raja and his associate Akshya Behera alias Chagala guilty of committing the murder after examining several witnesses, additional public prosecutor S.K Mund told reporters.
The court which delivered the judgment after trying at least 28 prosecution witnesses and five eye witnesses will however pronounce the quantum of punishment on Friday, he said.
After hearing the news of the conviction from televisions hundreds of people and sports lovers gathered outside of the court to mark the occasion as the victory of truth. Some also shouted slogans.
“The justice was delayed but not denied. It was a victory of truth,” Raghunath Biswal, a city resident told ‘Odisha.in outside of the court.
“It was a day of satisfaction. It was a case which gripped the public attention from the beginning to the logical conclusion” police commissioner B.K. Sharma told reporters. “We were monitoring the case on day to day basis” he added.
Hundreds of students and fans also gathered near the judo hall and marked the victory by lighting incense sticks. Many of them also broke into tears remembering their days with the coach.
Das was shot dead by two gun men on April 13 in 2008 near his judo hall here when he was celebrating Oriya New Year’s Day with his students, fans and family.
The murder took an interesting turn when police discovered the involvement of Sandeep Acharya- a hard core criminal who face several cases of extortions, murders and kidnapping and Akhya Behera one of his associates.
The case also hugged media lime light when some powerful men and women including some Oriya celebrities and cine actress came out with facts that the prime accused was harassing them.
While Behera surrendered in Bhopal on April 22, Acharya surrendered to police in Goa in May. Both were charge sheeted by police in August 2008.
The trial of the case was started on September 1, 2009 in a special fast track court set up for the purpose and completed on November 23 this year.
Das a judo master, survived by wife and a son had shot into lime light when he rescued six-year-old boy Budhia Singh from a city slum, adopted him and made him a running sensation.
With his grooming, Budhia ran 65 km from Puri to Bhubaneswar in seven hours in May 2006 and created a record. The feat of the boy-who subsequently became a celebrity, was acknowledged by The Limca Book of Records.
“I am happy that the court convicted them. However, we are eagerly waiting to see what sentence the court is going to give them,” Das’s widow Gitanjali and brother Sushanta Das said.
Swadesh Das, a defence lawyer, said Acharya and Behera will appeal against the judgment to the higher court against their conviction in Das’s killing.