The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday affirmed the life imprisonment awarded to Bhagwati Singh alias Pappu in connection with the murder of national badminton champion Syed Modi in 1988.

The Lucknow Bench of the Court said there was ample evidence on record to show that Modi was killed in firing by the appellant and another accused.

A vacation bench of Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Saroj Yadav passed the verdict, which it had reserved on March 21, after completing the hearing of the appeal filed by the convict.

The Additional Sessions Judge, Lucknow had, on August 22, 2009, sentenced Pappu to life imprisonment. The convict is currently in jail.

In its judgment, the Bench observed, "The evidence available on record shows that co-accused Balai Singh, who died during the trial, made a disclosure statement in the presence of independent witnesses that the pistol used in the murder of Syed Modi, along with cartridges, was given to him by convict Pappu."

The said articles were subsequently recovered by the investigators. Modi was shot dead by two car-borne assailants in Lucknow on July 28, 1988.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took up the probe in the case and filed a chargesheet against then Congress MP Sanjay Singh, Ameeta Kulkarni Modi, Akhilesh Singh, Balai Singh, Amar Bahadur Singh, Jitendra Singh alias Tinku and Bhagwati Singh alias Pappu.

It was CBI's case that Modi's wife Amita was in an extra-marital affair with Sanjay Singh and both of them conspired to eliminate Modi.

After the CBI's chargesheet, a sessions court discharged Sanjay Singh and Amita Kulkarni Modi in the case. The decision was affirmed by the High Court as well as the Supreme Court.

Similarly, the high court had set aside the charges framed against Akhilesh Singh. Two other accused, Balai Singh and Amar Bahadur Singh, were killed during the trial of the case.

It was argued on behalf of the appellant that once the main accused, Sanjay Singh and Amita Kulkarni Modi were discharged from the case, there remained no motive against him to kill Syed Modi and hence, he should be acquitted.

Considering that there was an eyewitness who identified Pappu, the bench said, "Motive loses its importance because nobody can peep into the mind of a miscreant to know for what purpose he has committed the offence."

Click here to read/download Judgment

With PTI inputs