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Dad wants death for killers

Bangalore, March 23: Manjunath Shanmugam’s family sat huddled in front of the television this morning waiting for the judge to pronounce his verdict.

As news came that all the eight accused were found guilty, Manjunath’s father Shanmugam, quiet till then, spoke up: “They should all be hanged. I hope the judge awards them capital punishment for killing my son.”

“I am not going to get my son back. The guilty should be punished. I hope they will be hanged,” he kept repeating at their modest home in Kolar Gold Fields, 100 km from Bangalore.

Shanmugam, a manager at the Bharat Earth Movers Limited unit in Kolar Gold Fields, had taken the day off to watch the news.

Manjunath’s younger brother Raghavendra, who had come home from Bangalore where he works to be with the family on the day of the verdict, echoed their father: “I wish my brother’s killers get capital punishment.”

Manjunath’s fault was that as a sales officer with Indian Oil Corporation, he had threatened to revoke the licence of a petrol pump in Lakhimpur Kheri for selling adulterated fuel. He was killed by the accused on November 19, 2005, in a murder that outraged the country.

His friends and the alumni of IIM Lucknow, where he studied management, and SJCE Mysore, where he studied engineering, set up the Manjunath Shanmugam Trust to fight for justice. Anjali Mullatti, one of the trustees, told The Telegraph: “We have got it (justice). The minimum would be life sentence.”

Like many others in the trust, Anjali has never met Manjunath but was moved by the spirit of the 27-year-old who tried his best to stop adulterators. The trust had hired senior Supreme Court lawyers Kamini Jaiswal and I.B. Singh to fight the case.

Batchmates sobbed as the judge gave his ruling. “The verdict is a victory for honest officers who, instead of surrendering to corruption, keep fighting as Manjunath did,” said Akhil Kumar in Lakhimpur Kheri, fighting back tears. “We are grateful to the judiciary which has done justice.”

The trust will announce the winner of the Manjunath Shanmugham Integrity Award in Bangalore tomorrow.

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