The Orissa High Court on Thursday set aside the death sentence awarded by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court to Dara Singh in the sensational Graham Staines murder.
Read about: Shocking triple murder
Dara's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sujit Barman Roy and
Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra.
The court retained the life imprisonment awarded by the lower court to Mahendra Hembram while acquitting all other
The district and sessions judge Khurda M N Patnaik after a long-drawn trial had sentenced Dara to death while awarding life imprisonment to 12 others, including Hembram in his judgement pronounced on September 22, 2003.
One of the accused, Andha Naik, alias Aniruddh Dandapat, was acquitted by the court.
Staines, an Australian missionary, and his minor sons Phillips (11) and Timothy (8) were asleep in their station wagon at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district on the night of January 22, 1999 when a mob attacked them and set the vehicle
on fire killing the three.
The incident had sparked contrywide outrage leading to the setting up of a judicial commision headed by then sitting judge of Supreme Court D P Wadhwa.
The case was also handed over to the CBI for investigation.