Posted On Sunday, August 05, 2012 at 09:10:11 AM
Parents of Shaurya, who was battered till he was left with physical deformities, were awarded 10 years of rigorous imprisonment by a Delhi court on Saturday. Shaurya was tortured for 10 years by his father -- former Army major Lalit Balhara -- and stepmother Preeti.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 60,000 each on the retired major and his second wife Preeti Balhara after holding them guilty of battering the minor boy and trying to kill him after the victim's mother, herself an Army captain, had died in 2000.
The boy, now 13, was first taken to a hospital on April 23, 2002 — at the age of three — for treatment of alleged consumption of insecticide by him. After that incident, the abuse increased and he also suffered fractured ribs, a bleeding skull and smashed teeth, while his weight dropped significantly.
During the trial, Shaurya said he was repeatedly tortured by the pair and claimed he was often locked up in aroom without food and beaten with a stick when he would cry.
He also said they would insert a stick in his mouth which broke some of his teeth. The couple had denied the allegations, saying the child was 'special' by birth.
They claimed he had suffered injuries after falling off chairs and tables, but the medical report coupled with the child's statement proved their guilt. “You are sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment under section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC and six months of imprisonment under section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act.
Both sentences shall run concurrently,” Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Virender Bhat told the accused on Saturday. The victim's counsel Ravinder S Garia had demanded the harshest possible punishment for the convicts saying the minor has suffered permanent injury and has been left with 'battered baby syndrome' for life.
The case came to light in 2005, when the minor's maternal grandparents had moved the high court seeking his custody, accusing his father and his second wife Preeti of torturing him after his mother's death.
The child was then produced before the court on February 20, 2005. Taken aback by his physical and mental condition, the court had sought a medical report on his condition. The major and his wife were also sent for psychiatric consultation.
The HC on February 28, 2005 had handed over the child's custody to his maternal grandfather, saying “investigation is needed to ascertain the manner in which injuries have been caused.”